In this Fanalytics podcast episode, we are doing a deep dive into mascots and team names in the sports world. Marketing Professor Mike Lewis, MBA student Al Multani-Kohal, and I kick off the episode by talking about a viral tweet.
A little background before getting to that…
Professor Lewis has been studying issues surrounding team names and mascots for several years. This OpEd discusses the business case for changing a controversial team name such as the Washington Redskins. A full series of posts focused on team names and mascots can be found here.
The topic of team names and mascots has since entered the classroom. Professor Lewis teaches a Sports Marketing class and recently gave an assignment where groups of students had to choose a sports brand that they believed could benefit from an updating. Students were also asked to propose a solution to the potential branding “problem.”
Al’s group got caught up in a Twitter storm after they proposed changing the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators to the Sabercats.
— Emory MAC (@Emory_MAC) February 19, 2019
Al says his group looked at North American professional teams that could use rebranding because there wasn’t brand equity. This involved asking:
1.) Was there something that could be perceived as offensive?
2.) Was there a disconnect with how a logo/brand/mascot resonated with its origin stories?
Al says his team analyzed data on the word “predator” and found there were negative connotations associated with it. That’s how this proposal came to light.
In the second part of this episode, Mike and I talk about the history of mascots and some of the most famous brand mascots of all time including Mickey Mouse, Tony the Tiger, and Mario.
We also discuss a couple of controversial Native American mascots – the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins.
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