Washington NFL team decides against new monicker for 2020 season
NFL American football’s Washington franchise, formerly known as the ‘Redskins’, will be called the ‘Washington Football Team’ for the 2020 season while the organisation searches for a new permanent name.
Earlier this month, the franchise announced it was dropping its controversial nickname and logo following pressure from sponsors and other key stakeholders.
The club said: "The decision to use ‘Washington Football Team’ for this season allows the franchise the ability to undertake an in-depth branding process to properly include player, alumni, fan, community and sponsor input.
"To date, we have been pleased to see so many people putting forward their vision of what the new name and design should be on their social media channels and we look forward to including their feedback as this process progresses."
It added that over the next 50 days the club would begin to retire all Redskins branding from team properties and digital spaces, including its home stadium FedEx Field in Maryland, with the hopes of completing the process in time for the team’s opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles on 13 September.
The franchise will keep its burgundy and gold colours and replace its previous logo on the team’s helmets with a player’s jersey number.
The club also announced it will be rolling out official Washington Football Team merchandise in the coming days for fans to purchase.
Earlier this week, the franchise announced long-time sports executive Terry Bateman as executive vice-president and chief marketing officer to guide the franchise through its rebranding.
Together with franchise owner Dan Snyder, Bateman will spearhead the name change and branding efforts. He will also oversee all the team’s marketing activities, sponsor relations, internet and broadcast media operations and overall business strategy.
The decision to drop the controversial name and logo came after a large group of investment firms and corporate shareholders sent letters to the franchise’s key sponsors FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo urging them to distance themselves from the franchise if it continued to retain its name.
FedEx, which holds the naming rights to the team’s stadium in a deal that started in 1999 and is worth $205 million over 27 years, and PepsiCo were among the brands to request a name change.
Online retail giant Amazon, plus US retailers Target, Walmart and Nike said they would stop selling the team’s merchandise. Nike manufactures the kit of all 32 NFL teams.
Meanwhile, Firstrust Bank, the Philadelphia-based family-owned bank, has become the official bank of the Philadelphia Eagles after signing a sponsorship deal with the NFL franchise.
Under the deal, the Firstrust, owned by the Green family, will provide commercial banking services to the franchise and launch a new line of Eagles-themed banking products, including Eagle current accounts with debit cards featuring the team’s logo.
An infill sign of the bank’s logo will be added to the stadium’s skyline and a new VIP club will be renovated into the ‘Firstrust Bank Club’ at the Eagles stadium for the 2021 season.
Firstrust and the Green Family Foundation will also pledge more than $1 million to the Eagles Autism Foundation.