So it has come to this.
Rick Bonnell is reporting in the Charlotte Observer that polls have gone out to the season ticket holders asking them if they would like to get rid of the current Bobcats name and return to the name of the city’s old franchise. The Charlotte Hornets.
Would adopting “Hornets,” the nickname first associated with NBA basketball in Charlotte, drive up sales of game tickets and team merchandise?
The Bobcats are already engaged in market research to find out. They’ve hired Harris Interactive, a nationally prominent polling company, to survey both current Bobcats customers and the general Charlotte sports market about a possible change.
In my opinion the chances of the name change happening are a little better than the Baltimore Ravens Superbowl Odds. I’d have to say that right now that the chances are slightly better than 50-50. Even though I think that it is likely to happen, If you follow my posts on our forum then you are certainly aware of my thoughts on the renaming situation. You know that I feel like going back to the Hornets name is like remarrying your ex-wife after she left you in a nasty divorce, took the kids, the house, both cars, all the money and married your brother… When the Hornets were in Charlotte, I loved them as much as any other fan ever has. But when George Shinn and company packed up their teal and purple Super Hugo outfits and left town that franchise was dead to me.
The Bring Back the Buzz
folks will tell you that returning to the Hornets name, colors and logo will increase ticket sales, improve merchandise sales, and bring fans to the arena that may have had a problem with the “Bob
” in the name Bobcats. The Hornets franchise had an amazing amount of support early on in the franchise’s history from their inception. They had strong attendance from the early days, through the LJ/Zo/Muggsy era in 1991 – 1995, through the Glen Rice and Anthony Mason days in 1995 – 1998. One thing that the people with all of this Hornets nostalgia fail to mention is that support for the team started to plummet around the year 2000. At that time George Shinn was being criticized for trading away top talent instead of paying them. This was in addition to his reputation taking a beating from being accused of rape by a local Charlotte woman. Because of the fan base’s anger at Shinn and the team’s pending relocation, the final year of the Hornet’s existence in Charlotte was played to primarily an empty arena… And that was with a playoff caliber team. This is part of the Charlotte Hornets legacy that people forget about.
I don’t think that returning the Hornets name to the city of Charlotte will magically make this team better. As painful as the last year and a half have been for our Bobcats, they are on the right track. Making good trades (Ben Gordon for Magette and a 1st), managing your cap well and drafting wisely (Kemba, MKG, Taylor) is far more important than any purple and teal uniform or a mascot in a bee outfit.
Whether you agree or disagree, I’d like to hear your thoughts.