There’s a brouhaha afoot where the possible changing of the Kansas City Wizards team name is concerned…
An email from the Wizards to the faithful went out last week asking fans to convene Wednesday at 5 p.m. at KC Live in the Power & Light District "for a major Kansas City Soccer Announcement"
The betting money: that the team will announce a new name to go with its new stadium in KCK next year.
Reportedly to help erradicate the dismal recent memories of the team’s poor play and crappy digs and sightlines from the past few years playing in a minor league baseball park.
And to amp up the team’s hipness quotient via a more international-sounding name, logo and merch for soccer heads and suburbanites alike.
Just one problem…
The radom rebranding of an undistinguished team in an unremarkable soccer league appears to be a supericial marketing move at best.
The fact remains that until Major League Soccer grows to where it can attract – and dole out world class paychecks to attract – world class soccer stars, it will remain a third or fourth tier league in the eyes of soccer purists. And if the new name – should that indeed be what’s announced Wednesday – merely harkens to the teams where world class soccer is played, it will do little to convince the purists of improved the play.
Why should it?
The lowly Wizards didn’t even qualify for the playoffs this year.
Make no mistake, the Wizards new soccer specific stadium is a HUGE step in the right direction.
How could it not be after playing in the embarrssing T-Bones ballpark?
So how are the faithfull responding to the prospect of a Sporting KC or KC 96-like new name?
Uh, not very well…
"Giving up my season tix if you change the name…Don’t do it!" Ken Krause rants on the Wizards Facebook announcement page. "The name does not really matter, it is the history that does. We are the Wizards. End of story. Original MLS team and league champion…I’d almost rather have seen (the Wizards) go to another city than have their name changed like this! It’s amazing to me how many ways Americans can come up with to wreck the world’s most popular game…3 point goals anyone?"
"We are the WIZARDS!!!!" adds Michael Morgenegg. "Please don’t change the name."
"Thank you for building the stadium," says Keith O’Toole. "Thank you for keeping the ownership local. But I have a deposit on WIZARDS season tickets and will expect a refund of that deposit if there are no WIZARDS season tickets to be had. Don’t trash 15 years of history. I’ll still go to some games but I won’t be buying any merch and I will abstain from season tickets for at least 2011 in protest of this blatant disrespect of your core fan base."
"Does changing the name really make the franchise any better or different for that matter?" asks Damon Arredono. "Does the name change signify change in MLS? Why fix it if it ain’t broke?"
"Hope we don’t hear a new name," says Penny Guy. "The Wizards have history."
"DO NOT CHANGE THE NAME," says Mario A. Morales.
"This name change hurts my heart," adds Eli Crossland Spencer.
It gets worse…
"KC Wizards fans who hate the name, show up and boo loud at the announcement and during the owner’s speech," suggests Chris Talamantez. "Cover his speech with an airhorn."
The $64 million Question: What would Wizards founder Lamar Hunt say?
Or is the entire name change rumor mill thingie just a massive PR stunt by the team to unveil a new stadium sponsor, uniforms, etc.?