Washington Redskins To Review Team Name After Sponsor Pressure
The Washington Redskins have announced they will conduct a “thorough review of the team’s name”, after financial and social backlash over their name being considered offensive to Native Americans.
This move comes following growing financial pressure from sponsors, including FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi, who have threatened to end their support of the NFL franchise if it does not change its name.
Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, said the decision to review the team’s name will be held with input from all relevant stakeholders.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise, but also input from our alumni, the organisation, sponsors, the National Football League, and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said.
According to AdWeek, 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a combined $891 billion sent letters to FedEx, Nike and Pepsi asking them to end their sponsorships with the franchise unless it changed its name.
This led to FedEx making a formal request for the team to change its name, with Nike taking the measures to completely remove Redskins merchandise from its online store.
The Redskins have received criticism and calls for them to change their name for many years from Native American leaders, but the latest push amid the ongoing protests for social justice commitments following the death of black American, George Floyd, in police custody.
Previous calls for a name-change had been disregarded by Snyder, largely due to the valuation of the Washington franchise at $4.88 billion by Forbes in 2019, with estimations $331 million of that are attribute specifically to the ‘Redskins’ brand.
According to Sportico senior sports valuations and legal reporter, Peter Schwartz, however, the team’s branding is worth substantially less due to the ongoing controversary.
“The ongoing controversy over the team name, including the 2018 trademark dispute, has resulted in a significant decrease in the appreciation of the value of the team,” Schwartz said.
“Viewed through that lens, the Redskins’ brand is actually a net-negative,” he said.
Adding to that, Brand Positioning Doctors managing partner, Larry Taman, said the brand isn’t worth anything to a hypothetical buyer.
“If the team went up for sale tomorrow, I believe 95 per cent of prospective buyers would pursue a name change,” Taman said.
“And if I’m right about that, the brand really isn’t worth anything,” he said.