A UK based social commentator on all things American Sport? #6 Baseball may have reached the UK, but we’re still waiting on the ‘How to Franchise’ handbook to arrive.

It’s proposed that a number of sports in the UK need to go down the franchising route in order to re-engage with the public; cricket has proposed trialling a new city franchise tournament and other sports may follow suit soon. Nearly all American sports are franchised, with the majority being very marketable to the public thanks to good creative brains. With baseball growing in Great Britain, we thought we’d take a look at some of the names in the British Baseball Federation pyramid to see which creative directors are worth their pay check;

London Mets

They may have dominated the National Baseball League (NBL) in 2017, faring much better than their New York MLB counterparts – no affiliation – but it’s hard not to feel as if naming yourself after an MLB franchise is somewhat of a cop-out if there is no link (yes that goes for you as well Kent Mariners, Cambridge Royals, Harrogate Tigers and more). It may get people through the doors and increase membership as it is a recognised name, but originality is rewarded more than imitation by East Atlantic Look.

ELA Rating: 2/5 (extra point for winning the title)

London Capitals

Twinned with the London Mets, the Capitals certainly won the battle of the names. In their second season in the NBL, 2017 say the Capitals pick up wins over the two major powerhouses in the league for the first time and are improving all the time. London is obviously the capital of England so fits, pluralising the word for a team sport works even better. Yes, they share a title with an NHL side (Washington), but at least they went away from franchises within the same sport.

ELA Rating: 4/5

Southampton Mustangs

Recognised as the ‘second’ team in the NBL – behind the Mets – The Mustangs on the south coast won the NBL championship in 2016. Ask anyone of a certain age to list 3 things they associate with America and I would guess nearly all of them would list a Ford Mustang. When picking a franchise name, it’s important to pick a name that people can associate with. There’s some expectancy that people local to the area will support no matter what you call yourself, but to appeal further afield a good, strong, relatable name is important. Fast, sleek, expensive and highly sought after – Mustang ticks the boxes. Good job, Southampton.

ELA Rating: 5/5

Richmond Knights

A good, solid historical nickname. Richmond – south-west London – was developed as a town following the building of a royal palace in the area so it’s fair to presume that there were a few historical knights that ventured through the town. The Triple-A franchise have enjoyed baseball in Richmond for over 25 years – no doubt some of their founder’s ancestors were knights of the realm in earlier centuries!

ELA Rating: 3/5

Taunton Tigers

Though they share their name with an MLB franchise – alluded to above as being a big ‘no-no’ – the alliteration between town and nickname works rather well. The Triple-A level side based in Somerset get a pass from us, provided they show more ‘Roar’ than Tigger or Tony from Frosties.

Leicester Blue Sox

It’s difficult not to feel that the creative brain’s in charge of choosing a name were somewhat lazy with this one. They’ve managed to latch on to one of the most ionic brands in sport in the ’Sox’, and whilst they haven’t copied the name of an established MLB side, the imitation is still fairy blatant. The team save face by at least matching the colour scheme with that of the city’s famous football team – Premier League winners in 2015/16 – though if going to match their colour, could they not have borrowed their nickname as well and spout the excuse of a ‘united sporting city’ – Leicester Foxes would work for me.

ELA Rating: 2/5

 

East London Latin Boys

Private members club? In fact, no; we aren’t even going to go there – and whether it is or isn’t, the East London club should never have either!

ELA Rating: 0/5

Norwich Iceni

A what, sorry? A quick Google and it appears as if the Iceni are an ancient tribe that roamed Norfolk during the Ice Age; historical accuracy? Yes. Catchy? Meh. The lack of knowledge surrounding the meaning of Iceni makes the name less appealing – it’s difficult to associate with something if you don’t know what you’re associating too – there are bonus marks for sounding like some sort of college frat club, though.

ELA Rating: 2/5

Liverpool Trojans

People associated with the city of Troy – the site of the Trojan War. Without digging too far into the history of the War, I’m not sure there is much of an affiliation with Merseyside and Classical warfare, however the name paints a picture of fearless warriors willing to fight to the death – useful characteristics if they see a lot of extra innings. Seeing as not a lot of teams necessarily associate with what they nickname themselves, it would be unfair to knock too many marks off for historical (potential) inaccuracies. On face-value Trojans are pretty fearless and up for a fight; an army of men fighting for one shared goal – it’s easy to dress up.

ELA Rating: 3/5

Liverpool Twojans

Brilliant. This may not have been so good if it wasn’t for the fact there was a number 1 Trojans side and I sincerely hope that there was some thought into the name of Trojans that would allow such a brilliant play on words for the second team –Twojans. Whilst a ‘Twojan’ isn’t a something, the wit, nonsensical nature and marketability makes this exactly what a franchise nickname needs to be; catchy, clever and relatable – most of us are second-rate, right?!

ELA Rating: 5/5

Bolton Robots of Doom

I can only hope that this was a dare that has just stuck. It’s like a bad midweek 5-a-side team name for the office workers that lose 10-0 every week. The Bolton side aren’t that bad around the diamond, but their naming skills needs work. If there’s a story behind the name, we would love to hear it. Superficially, this is one of the worst nicknames around. Too long, paints an image of sci-fi rather than fear and robots are renowned as being stiff and bad movers – have the North-West outfit ever had a stolen base?! Unfortunately, the title paints an image of Lego men trying to play the game – re-brand in order we think!

ELA Rating: 0/5

Some good creative brains and some not so – it appears that we haven’t quite got the hang of the naming teams thing yet, but hopefully by the time we need to name an NFL franchise, the cricket city T20 teams or other sporting sides we have got the worst of the names out the way so they can’t be recycled.

Hold tight, James Dawne.

3 thoughts on “A UK based social commentator on all things American Sport? #6 Baseball may have reached the UK, but we’re still waiting on the ‘How to Franchise’ handbook to arrive.

  1. We are called the Mets because we where born out of the London Meteors Softball club, not becasue we copied the NY Mets. Just a big old fyi for you.

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  2. Funny you turn on the Robots of Doom and aren’t a fan. You call on more creative brains…RoD have been recognised by MLB for having the 2nd best named team in all of baseball. We have contacts in the USA who would like to market our merchandise and are recognised across Europe. We regularly pick up new fans and followers across the globe due to a name.

    And you think we need a rebrand? Hmm…okay.

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