The Cleveland Indians, of North America's Major League Baseball, will rebrand as the Guardians after the 2021 season having dropped their contentious nickname.

The team agreed to lose the Indians name that had been in place since 1915 following significant pressure from Native American groups.

The new moniker references a pair of well-known statues on a local bridge in the city of Cleveland known as the ‘Guardians of Traffic’.

The MLB outfit revealed plans to change their name last December after anti-racism protests.

The team consulted with the Native American community, fans, players, alumni and staff before making a decision.

It became the second US team last year to change its name for ethical reasons after the NFL's Washington D.C. franchise dropped its Redskins tag.

The latter rebranded as Washington Football Team for last season and recently announced they will reveal a new name and logo in 2022.

In 2018, the Indians dropped the logo featuring a cartoon of a Native American named Chief Wahoo, replacing it with the letter C. 

The Indians were previously known as the Cleveland Naps, after Nap Lajoie, their star player and manager.

Paul Dolan, the MLB team’s owner, said: "Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity.

"Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders. 'Guardians' reflects those attributes that define us. While 'Indians' will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city."