i hate my name

There’s probably a point in everyone’s life where they’ve wanted to change his or her name. For most of us, it’s an event that takes place at some point in our childhood when we can do nothing about it. Most of us grow out of it, though a few adventurous individuals hold on to this into adulthood. But they’re mostly people like this guy, this guy, or this “guy.”

well... here we go again.

And to be completely honest, even though I’m approaching the end of my 20’s, I still don’t like my real name. But I have been lucky enough to have always gone by a nickname, which I don’t mind so much. That’s why I’ve never felt the need to actually change it.

That said, it’s not just people that have these feelings. Sometimes it’s a company (unsuccessfully) trying to shed their shady past. Other times, it could be due to a franchise moving to a new town (having written that, I’m currently waiting for some Wimbledon fan to come punch me in the jeans).

And as you can probably assume from the links I’ve included above, this name-changing trend is one of which I’m not particularly fond. Unfortunately though, this tendency is becoming ever more present in the world of MLS franchises.

First it was Dallas, changing their name from the “Dallas Burn” to “FC Dallas.” Im okay with that, because honestly, who the hell names their sports team after a severe medical issue? Next was the club in New York Jersey, who not only ditched their ambiguous “New York-New Jersey” location name (a brilliant move), but also swapped “Metrostars” (god what an ugly logo) for the name of my favorite soft drink producer (a poor choice). While the team’s ownership mandated such a change — and admittedly it’s a better logo and look for the club — I’m not personally a big fan of turning clubs into giant brand billboard, and comes off a little too gimmicky. But investment was needed, so I guess I can justify that move as well.

Now if you’re a long time follower of soccer here in the states, you’re probably aggressively waving your hand while reading that to say, “Hey, Kansas City changed their name waaaaaay before New York and Dallas.” And you’re right: the club made the very, very, very smart choice to transform “the Wiz” into “Wizards”. (Edit: As [rudely] noted in the comments below by James, the main reason for Kansas’s initial change was forced due to “The Wiz” trademark being held by another company.) But the reason I left them out, is because they’ve done it again… this time to Sporting Kansas City. Honestly, enough is enough.

I get where an MLS franchise sees the value in choosing a (new) name that caters to Eurosnobs like myself. Sometimes this is pulled off well, but other times it’s yielded disastrous results… like accidentally giving yourself a royal coronation. Kansas City’s rebranding proves that we’ve gone ahead and and made fools of ourselves all over again. Not that I thought the name Wizards moniker would strike fear in the heart of visiting fans/opponents. But it’s fine for teams to have silly names like Sounders, The Crew and Revolution because this is America and we love cheesy names. It comes off feeling like certain MLS sides are shunning their American-ness.

By making such a needless change fifteen years into the club’s existence, it’s practically a slap in the face to the brand the fans have come to love and embrace. The club had major success not long ago under the old name they just ditched. They finally had a decent logo and a good color scheme for their kits. Their main supporter’s group had even devised a fantastic name that played off of Wizards — The Cauldron — that now makes absolutely no sense.

On top of that, how does their executive team make a choice to go with “Sporting KC”? The name is plainly ripped from teams like Portugal’s Sporting or Sporting de Gijón of Spain. But it’s not like there is a large immigrant population from Spain or Portugal in the area. The club also hasn’t announced any loose associations with either of the more famous European side, which would have at least given them some excuse to make that choice. And you can’t can’t honestly tell me that they’re trying to differentiate themselves from the NBA side that is located halfway across the country from them.

Maybe the club felt that they needed a fresh start prior to taking up residence in their new stadium. Or maybe the think the Wizards name was stale. Perhaps a new mystery investor demanded this name change in exchange for his funding… who knows. Regardless of their reasoning, I don’t like the change. And though the club have labeled this move as a “shift in mindset” for the club, it actually comes off as a misguided, poorly thought-out move made by an adolescent trying to rebel against their parents.

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3 Comments

  1. The Wizards at least made sense because it was named for the single thing most associated with Kansas in this country – The Wizard of Oz, which is an ICON. In second place associated with Kansas City specifically would be beef. Kansas City Beef? Well, that could have been kind of intimidating I suppose. How about Tornados? That’s not bad. Corn? Wheat? Plains? Nah, probably not. But Sporting? That’s just being pretentious.

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  2. There is so much that is factually wrong with this I wonder if you even follow MLS. Red Bull for example were no rebranded, they acquired and the new owners renamed them to match all their other sports teams which include motor sports, German and Austrian football, hockey and a host of other teams. They are all named Red Bull in one way or another. It was not a decision made by MLS or anybody else but the ownership merely following their global protocol.

    Kansas City Wiz were forced to rename from Wiz because it was a trademarked name and it went via the courts. As a European, who has been to hundreds of games, for decades in England I think you probably missing the mark if you think you belong on the other side. Your no snob, you are just ignorant.

    What makes you think team names, logos badges, and all that didn’t change in every country within the first decade or two of league formation?

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    1. Hey James,

      First off, thanks for taking the time to read the site. I actually do appreciate you pointing out my inaccuracies. The last thing i want on this site is to be touting fiction as fact; I was actually unaware of the reasoning for Kansas City’s initial name change.

      That said… I think you could have pointed out my “mistakes” without going out of your way to insult me. I call myself a “Eurosnob” mockingly because I prefer the european game to the american. That hardly makes me an expert on any of this. After all, I write this blog in my spare time when not working my regular gig.

      Regardless of who bought the New York MLS franchise and whether or not they were aligning it with their other sports properties, it was still a “rebranding” whatever way you look at it. Last time I checked, they’re no longer branded as the Metrostars. And in my opinion, I don’t think Kansas City should have changed their name because the old one had some relevance (the “Wizard of Oz” connection) and the new one lacks any connection at all.

      In all actuality, I think you completely missed the point of this post. And that was, in my humble opinion, MLS franchises need to quit trying to be something they’re not. While i prefer the European game to the domestic game here, I want MLS to embrace the culture they’ve helped to create… and that’s being their own brand and not someone elses.

      Either way, thanks for the reply and here’s hoping you visit again to read more of my ignorant thoughts.

      Cheers,

      D.J.

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