Edmonton Eskimos Likely To Get A New Name

By Ben Hamill - July 16 2020
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Edmonton Eskimos Likely To Get A New Name

Money talks. And one team firmly in the running for a name-change because of this is the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. With financial pressure from sponsors and social pressure from fans steadily mounting, many sports experts believe that it’s nothing more than a matter of time before the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos announce their new name.

Says Marvin Ryder, who is an associate professor of marketing at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, no team wants the focus to be its name instead of on its players or performance. A name trending for all the wrong reasons is decidedly bad for business.

Nothing says that it’s time for a change quite like fans, sponsors and even players claiming to feel uneasy with a club or sports franchise’s name, says Ryder.

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Because The Sponsors Said So

Sponsors are obviously a big deal to clubs and teams. One of the Edmonton Eskimos’ sponsors with whom the team’s name sits particularly uneasy, is insurance giant Belair Direct. A spokesperson for the company recently minced no words when declaring the company in a position of rethinking its relationship and partnership with the Eskimos. Concrete action is what is necessary now, said the spokeswoman, and that includes a change of name.

Another sponsor, Boston Pizza, actually went as far as terminating its sponsorship relationship with the team. The official reason handed down on social media was that of a larger shift in the company’s approach toward marketing and promos. Telling however, was that the explanation was tweeted in response to a social media user’s enquiry about whether or not Boston Pizza planned on following in the footsteps of Belair Direct.

Change Won’t Be Instant

But the reasons fans and sponsors are more interested now in what’s in a name? than ever before, are multiple, says Ryder. Since fans have had precious little else to do than to ruminate on everything else but actual performances (mainly because of a lack thereof), they’ve had plenty of thinking-time at their disposal. An over-abundance of free time, coupled with movements like Black Lives Matter, would have been more than sufficient enough to spark a new interest in the devilish details.

But there remains a great deal to be considered before any “new” name can be considered for a team such as Edmonton. Due to the timelines and logistics involved with the production of uniforms and gear ahead of a new season, changing even as much as a colour or a logo can take up to 18 months – let alone a complete change of name.

One thing is however for sure: a new name for the Edmonton Eskimos is more a matter of when than if.

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