👋 Good morning! Let's sports.
- ⚾️ Coming tomorrow: MLB season preview (Special Edition)
Today's word count: 1,911 words (7 minutes).
👋 Good morning! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,911 words (7 minutes).
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Changing a team name is a complicated process and typically takes years. Washington's NFL team is trying to do it in a matter of weeks, amid a pandemic, while concurrently conducting an internal sexual harassment investigation.
1. Name: Choosing a new name is a delicate endeavor, and in this case, the most important decision in the franchise's 87-year history will be a rushed one.
"A typical rebranding process includes lots of focus groups, fan engagement and community involvement. If the process is sped up too much, even the largest organizations can miss the kind of nuances that are really important, particularly in this case."— Mori Taheripour, business ethics professor at the Wharton School, tells Axios
2. Logo: All three sports branding experts I spoke with said they wouldn't be surprised if Washington waits until later in the season, or even next season, to unveil its logo. The team will reportedly retain its burgundy and gold color scheme, so removing the logo and playing with generic uniforms is an option.
3. Apparel/merchandise: New uniforms, practice jerseys and other team-issued gear needs to be manufactured and distributed. Same thing goes for jerseys and other merchandise that the team will want to make available to fans as soon as possible.
4. Digital footprint: Team and league staff need to update everything from websites and email addresses to social media handles and mobile apps — and not just on Washington's properties, but for the other 29 teams and the NFL itself.
5. Physical footprint: A team's branding is everywhere, from its stadium and practice facilities to its business cards. And oftentimes, its name and logo are literally etched in stone. Under different circumstances, a team might keep banners and mementos hanging around. But Washington has a tougher decision to make regarding historic displays that feature its former name.
6. Paperwork: Team and league staff have a mountain of legal paperwork to complete, starting with trademark filings, copyright and licensing agreements, and a wide array of legal, medical and governmental documents.
7. Coordinating with partners: Sponsors and media partners need the new name, logo, color tones and lettering so they can update their own properties. Making those changes can take months and requires a lot of back-and-forth communication.
"Think about all the sponsors who are the 'official [blank] of the team.' They're all impacted by this change, and it takes a coordinated effort to make even the smallest changes, like updating the logos on Pepsi trucks, with PepsiCo being the team's official non-alcoholic beverage."— Marty Conway, sports marketing professor at Georgetown, tells Axios
The NWSL announced Tuesday that it will expand to Los Angeles in 2022, with a star-studded ownership group of almost entirely women that includes Serena Williams (and her daughter!), Natalie Portman, Mia Hamm and Eva Longoria.
Today's semifinals: Following a quarterfinal round that saw all three top seeds eliminated, the scene shifts from Zions Bank Stadium (turf) to Rio Tinto Stadium (grass), with all four teams coming off multiple days of much-needed rest.
More soccer today:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is exploring a potential sale of the team.
The bottom line: Recent sales of big market teams like the Nets (purchased for $2.35 billion), Rockets ($2.2 billion) and Clippers ($2 billion) have pushed the average NBA franchise value to more than $2 billion, up 476% since 2010.
We're ranking the all-time rosters for all 30 NBA teams. Note: Rosters and stats based only on time spent with this specific team. Thoughts? Email me at email@example.com.
The historic pairing of John Stockton and Karl Malone made the playoffs every year for nearly two decades but never quite reached the promised land. A classic "always the bridesmaid" tale.
Sixth man: Deron Williams, G (17.3 pts, 3.2 reb, 9.1 ast, 19.0 PER/46.7 WS)
ICYMI ... 30. Grizzlies, 29. Timberwolves, 28. Hornets, 27. Raptors, 26. Pelicans, 25. Pacers, 24. Clippers, 23. Mavericks, 22. Nets, 21. Cavaliers, 20. Bucks, 19. Hawks, 18. Wizards, 17. Suns, 16. Kings, 15. Magic, 14. Nuggets, 13. Trail Blazers, 12. Rockets, 11. Knicks, 10. Thunder
Stats, explained: Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a measure of a player's per-minute productivity (20+ is elite); Win Shares (WS) attempts to divvy up individual credit for team success (6 per season is elite).
108 years ago today, American Jim Thorpe was presented with his two gold medals at the closing ceremonies of the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.
Why it matters: Thorpe, who grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, became the first Native American to win a gold medal for the U.S.
The big picture: Thorpe is the most versatile athlete to ever live. In addition to winning gold medals on the track, he played collegiate and professional football, professional baseball and professional basketball. He also excelled at billiards, lacrosse and ballroom dancing.
The bottom line: In 1999, AP placed Thorpe third on its list of the top athletes of the 20th century, behind only Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.
🎥 Watch: NFL's greatest players, Jim Thorpe (YouTube)
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
📺 Coronavirus dooms fall TV season (Sara Fischer, Axios)
"TV's infamous fall lineup of new shows and series is going to look a lot different this year, thanks to paused production during the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertain future of sports."
🤺 The curious case of the electrified épée (Michael Farber, SI)
"The Summer Olympics, which were supposed to open this week, have seen their share of competitive scandals — but none more bold or bizarre than Soviet pentathlete Boris Onischenko and his doctored fencing sword."
😷 Welcome back, sports. It seems we're really going to do this. (Dave Sheinin, WashPost)
"This, finally, is the week big-time team sports, such as they are, return to American life."
Polish speedway fans rented 21 cranes so they could watch their team, Motor Lubin, while abiding by social-distancing rules and attendance limits.
Speedway, explained: Motorcycle speedway is the most popular sport in Poland and dates back to the early 20th century.
Above: Racers slide around a turn during the 2018 Speedway Grand Prix at the Stadion Narodowy ("National Stadium") in Warsaw, Poland.
Below: A photo taken before the 2019 event.
🎥 Go deeper:
I messed up yesterday's trivia question (thank you to the hundreds of people who reminded me, haha). It was meant to say three non-Europeans other than Lionel Messi. Sorry about that.
Ben T. (Pittsburgh native) writes:
"Pittsburgh in the '80s and '90s was not a fun place to grow up. The steel industry had collapsed, leaving a once proud town humble. One thing that did bring pride, however, was our beloved Steelers.
"They weren't flashy, or stylish. But they represented the core values of our city and those who called it home — loyalty, tradition and hard work.
"My father and I went to every home game from 1992 until I left for college in 2004. He taught me not only the strategy of the game, but its history as well. Those Sundays at Three Rivers Stadium, and then Heinz Field, were magical.
"When I got married, Dad managed to get Terrible Towels with my name and my wife's embroidered on them as wedding favors for all 200+ guests.
"Ironically enough, the day of the Steelers 2016 home opener, and a week before our wedding, he was taken to the hospital with pneumonia. He died a few short days later on the eve of our wedding.
"Five months later, my wife and I are on a belated honeymoon at the Taj Mahal. Just as our picture is being snapped, I unfurl the very Terrible Towel my dad got us for our wedding, taking a bit of the black and gold to India.
"I could only imagine the kick he would have gotten out of that moment, a proud yinzer. Here we go Steelers! Thanks, Dad."
✍️ Submit your story: Do you have a fondest sports memory? Or an example of sports having a positive impact on your life? If you'd like to share, simply reply to this email. We'll be telling your stories until they run out.
Kendall "Reply to this email with your current favorite song" Baker