Aparrently the MLS has a name thing going on. Following Monday’s announcement that the newly relocated Houston franchise would be renamed from the 1836 to the Dynamo, the NY/NJ MetroStars have now been sold to the makers of Red Bull energy drinks…and promptly renamed the New York Red Bulls.
Team members seem to be amused by the new team name, or find the blatant marketing so unbelievable that they can’t help but laugh at it. Or maybe they just found out that, when completed, their new stadium will be called “Red Bull Arena”. Regardless, Red Bull New York will continue in the fine traditions of the company’s other soccer teams, such as Red Bull Salzburg.
In a small league already struggling for nationwide credibility, this kind of move just seems to be the wrong one to me. Could you imagine a team like the New York Yankees being bought by Gatorade and being renamed the New York Gators with yellow uniforms with green pinstriping? Even as a Red Sox fan, I would find that blasphemous. In a country where brand names are still mostly on the outside looking in at sports, with even stadium naming rights being by-and-large ignored by many fans, naming a team after your product just would seem to drive fans away…
At least until one day when I shudder as I hear some little kid say “I wanna be a Red Bull!”