Not getting “Sporting Kansas City,” not getting it one bit.

So rumors are flying out of KC that they’re going to get a new name along with a new stadium. The rumored name?

Sporting Kansas City.


That’s it.

Okay, I get that MLS teams are currently on a “let’s make ourselves sound as European as possible” jag now. And in some cases like Dallas, Toronto, and Salt Lake, the results weren’t that bad.

But it was transparent what those teams were trying to do. They were trying to look/sound like big successful European clubs like Arsenal FC, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and on and on. I got it. It was poseurish, but at least they were posing in the direction of something successful.

But now, here’s KC seemingly wanting to associate itself with Sporting Lisbon, the third-most successful club in Europe’s sixth-best league that itself isn’t known in this country outside of some older folks in Newark, NJ and Fall River, MA.

This is just bad marketing and the kind of really misdirected poseurism (yeah, I made that up) that actually makes the league look more bush-league rather than less.

I get the whole European name thing. Hell, I cheer for DC United. I get it. I really do. This isn’t a slap at KC for Europeanizing their name, it’s a slap at KC for doing it really, really badly.

Please KC ownership team, while there’s still time, think this out. If you want to re-brand the team, do it. But think this move through. Sporting Kansas City doesn’t really stir any echos, only the bowels.


64 thoughts on “Not getting “Sporting Kansas City,” not getting it one bit.

  1. Is there a Portuguese population in the KC area? Maybe trying to evoke memories of Sporting Lisbon (IMO the most famous ‘Sporting’ name)

  2. It’s obvious that’s what they’re trying to do. My piece didn’t quite make that clear. I’ve made a slight revision to fix that.

  3. Personally, I don’t like Wizards, never have, never will. It’s the Mighty Ducks name of MLS based on a dumb reference that has nothing to do with Kansas City. Still I’m out there every week losing my voice screaming it.

    I still don’t know about Sporting as a concept, but if Sporting Lisbon is not well known, would anyone in Kansas City associate this with them? The word is the same in English and Spanish, and if Real Salt Lake is now okay in the eyes of people, no one will even bat an eye at Sporting in 5 years.

    I don’t see Wizards going away if Sporting’s the name. The team will need a nickname, and I’m guessing our current one will stick.

    And Kenn, Wizards in Kansas City is crap regardless of what country it originated from. The extreme Amerophilia from some people is just as annoying as the extreme Europhilia from others.

  4. What do you do with the millions on the Missouri side you just alienated?

    Honestly what’s had the most traction on our boards is KC Divided , but most of us just want to get on with this regardless so we can move to the next stage of bitching.

  5. Bingo.

    All you non-KC fans don’t really matter to us.

    Most of our history has been a steady stream of “move Kansas City” from other fans and actually attempts to relocate the team.

    The last couple of years has been the only time in team history where fans haven’t really had to worry about losing the team. Now with the new stadium set to open, those concerns are gone pretty much for good.

    Worrying about the team name just seems silly in comparison.

    It’s as if we just recovered from some normally terminal illness and people are getting worked up over getting a car that’s a different color.

  6. like Kansas City 96 as well, Sporting is not bad but it sounds not right though but Hope this rumor is JUST A RUMOR!!

    Kansas City 96 would rule!11 wiTH omar Bravo on the field would be even sicker!!!

  7. AMN right on the money, everything he said so true, In America nobody know who sporting lisbon is, and the Nickname of the Kansas City Sporting will still be wizards so stop crying about it!! MAN the ******** UP Kansas CIty to have a name after a movie is freaking retarded!! Oh we are not in kansas anymore, get over it!!

  8. But I’m sure it’ll go great for you guys and people will line up for miles around to get into the stadium and buy branded merchandise with this name on it. After all, that’s how our name change went… and San Jose’s… and New York’s…

  9. I’ve got no issue with the FCs or DC United. United is a pretty common name the world over – not just in Britain. Those at least are generic terms. But Real Salt Lake? They’re neither Spanish nor Royal.

    There’s also a few Sportings out there already. Gijon, Braga, Charleroi, Cristal.

    Apparently the new complex where their stadium is located is to be multi-use, so maybe Sporting fits the mould in terms of being traditional, generic and applicable.

    However, I think they’d be better off using something relevent to their history. Maybe Kansas City Express due to their “Crossroads of the Country” heritage. Though that does sound a bit like a bus company.

  10. I honestly think that “Sporting” is too broad and dull for this team. If OnGoal wants a Euro-sounding name, why not “Racing?” The NASCAR track is within spitting distance from the new stadium. Obviously I kid, but “Sporting” is terrible.
    “United” works best considering the geography of the metro, but I’m sure that they league wants to avoid confusion: DC United vs KC United
    If DC could just hurry up and move to Baltimore, then the Wizards could easily take “United!”

  11. Other than the fact that the teams with the new names all have drawn fewer fans than what they did with their former, allegedly horrible names, no, it hasn’t hurt.

    Look, Racing Kansas City will have to deal with the fact that the Kansas City Wizards brand has 14 years of history. People, for better or worse, know it as the name of the local pro soccer team.

    Go to Dallas some time and ask who the local soccer team is. “FC Dallas” will probably not be the top answer. Most likely, it’ll trail behind “Dallas Sidekicks” (now dead, but was around for 20 years more or less continuously) and “Dallas Burn” (nine years of history).

    I just don’t see much upside in the rebranding, except to satisfy a few insecure putzes who can’t handle that their soccer team isn’t name Real Atletico Kansas City AC or whatever. People don’t make decisions whether or not to attend games based on the name, they don’t buy merchandise based on the name, and they don’t make decisions to sponsor the team based on the name. In the end people will make those decisions based on factors that have nothing to do with whether the team is named Kansas City Wizards or Young Boys Kansas City.

  12. Sporting K.C.

    Looks nice, actually. But I most definitely defer to those who give a damn and this is personal to them because that is their team.

    Beyond this post, I don’t and it’s not.

    For those who don’t know or may have forgotten, there is a halfway decent player who used to play for Sporting Lisbon before he was traded to Manchester United, and ending up third or closer to the top of the league, with all of the trappings and qualifications for regional play, wouldn’t be too bad for any team in any league.

    Call it “poseurish” is you like, but to some of us it is a tip of the hat to “Football History” (and I highly recommend the “History of Football” DVD Series to ANYONE who is interested in knowing more about the roots of The Beautiful Game), which has paved the way for the current American Soccer successes.

  13. what is united about DC anyway? why is DC United now called DC United and they aren’t being called out in the same way as the KC franchise is? it’s just as much of a europoser move as KC is. does anybody really understand why manchester united is called manchester united? can anybody explain why dc united was called united and is there a similar explanation? let’s have a coronary because a franchise wants to rebrand

  14. Sure, yeah. Less than 1996? When I look at your attendance there’s only one outlier and it’s 1996. The whole league should just go back to original names and uniforms. And I really believe the old attendance numbers as fact. KC really did average almost 16,000 in 2003 . I was at those games too.

    San Jose’s numbers look virtually the same regardless and NY is all over the map. KC’s numbers went down when we went to Wizards from Wiz – obviously signs of a bad move.

  15. Ummm… Possibly because D.C. United launched and has stayed all 15 years under the same name, and has been the example of strong brand marketing in MLS?

    The name change coming out of KC is at the whim of the new ownership group who have decided after four years of declining on-field performance that the “brand” that they’ve spent very little time or energy trying to promote isn’t strong enough.

  16. ‘Real’ would actually work far better, given both the tendency for pro teams here in KC to be named for royalty and the large SPANISH speaking population here. There is not a significant Portuguese speaking population.

    I wouldn’t like any new name, I would hate ‘sporting’.

  17. The San Jose Clash drew in the mid to high teens before the Krafts took over in ’99 or 2000. And changing back to a name that everyone allegedly loved didn’t change the fact that the Krafts, then SVS&E, then AEG, then Lew Wolff haven’t done nearly as good of a job selling the team as Peter Bridgwater did when the Clash were league-run.

    The Dallas Burn drew 25% more people in 2002 (the year before Southlake) than they do now as FC Dallas. And I was there, and yes, those numbers were real.

    The MetroStars drew attendances in their early years (note the multiple there) that were about twice as high as what they were getting before that $200 million attendance booster known as “Red Bull Arena.”

    Look, I get that people may not like “Kansas City Wizards.” It’s not my team so I really have no opinion on the matter. But don’t try to sell me on the idea that rebranding is anything more than a personal conceit, either to a minority of fans or to the owners. Lamar Hunt wanted the name of the Dallas Burn changed to something else and since he’s paying the bills, it gets done. But it didn’t have any tangible real-world positive impact.

  18. I prefer “The Clash”.

    But, I also think they were one of the best bands ever.

    How about Locomotive Kansas City? As someone previously mentioned, pays homage to the train history and even has a hispanic marketing angle, “Get Loco for K.C. Soccer!”

  19. I do! I do!

    It was a rebranding move that had nothing to do with two clubs “uniting”. What a bunch of Europoseurs!!!

  20. My team’s old (and original) name was Pisa Sporting Club (now AC Pisa 1909); I think that Kansas City Sporting Club would sound better than Sporting Kansas City.

  21. I usually like your brand of bullshit, but this is just some disingenuous bullshit.

    Nevermind the sample size, an entity isn’t going to rebrand itself it things are going swimmingly. It’s a symptom of, not the cause of, things going to shit. Using you logic, let’s talk about people who go through chemo and die from cancer.
    Oh, how easily you forget about the Wiz. Just like you’ll forget to be outraged over the Wizards.
    My imaginary friend in Dallas said, “SMU Mustangs women’s soccer team”. Look, for people who don’t give a shit about soccer (and people who’re soccer fans on Saturday mornings at the local English pub), there is no local professional soccer. People who acknowledge the existence of top flight soccer in the US damn well know who FC Dallas is.
    But renamings don’t happen in a vacuum. Of course people don’t buy your shit just because of a new name (I hope Comcast/Xfinity is paying attention). But people will buy shit with your new name if it’s a part of a major rebranding. Sometimes, a change of scenery does a world of good, and a new name is as good as a new setting. And shit, what better time for KC to renew than right before a move to a new stadium?

    And say what you will about past MLS renamings, San Jose Earthquakes won a title under a new name, and yet another one with yet another new name (and a new city). Red Bulls reached the frickin MLS Cup Final and they just recorded their best average attendance since 2000. Sometimes, a new name is just lipstick on a pig. But that’s not the worst thing for a pig.

  22. In this you are partially wrong. ReAL was partially selected for Salt Lake’s team because “Royal” has relevance in Utah’s dominant culture. At the same time the decision was made, the organization was entering into a what they felt was a significant relationship with ReAL Madrid. Unfortunately, that relationship was short lived.

    I would say that most of us RSL fans were not thrilled with the ReAL name originally… for the same reasons that you mentioned. However, I have to say that it has grown on us and we now lovingly embrace it.

  23. I like Kansas City City. Goes with Major League Soccer Soccer. The new stadium could be Kansas City City City. They could play some games in recently uppity Omaha and be the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

    Yeah, Sporting Kansas City is stupid and pointless.

  24. Granted, it sounds like a half assed attempt by ownership to shake things up and ride the coat tails of earlier rebranding it is their money and their franchise. If fans in KC oppose it then they should petition their FO. In my opinion Wizards is a corny name. Way cornier than most eurocentric names. Although there is plenty to be said for a fanbase being attached to a name for their club. When I first moved to Portland and started attending Timbers matches I thought the Timbers name was corny. But now after years of going to matches and singing that name I can’t imagine calling them anything else. We would hate it if one day we woke up and all of a sudden our club was called Sporting Portland.

    That being said, if they are going to rebrand I like the idea of KC ’96. At least it references the history of the club. If I were a KC supporter it would be a welcome change. And like someone else said you can always just refer to them as the Wizards if you want. Just like Luton is The Hatters or Millwall is The Lions.

  25. Bullcrap. Anyone can cherry-pick the data and pick the best years out. We both know it’s about the personnel anyway. I don’t believe your numbers were real anymore than any other team. Every team in the league was overstating attendance and probably still do. You were the Burn in Southlake. Yeah it was the stadium more than the name, but the first year as FC Dallas saw significant gains from the year prior, even with crappy ownership. I never made any claims that re-branding affected attendance in the positive. I said solely that the name change didn’t hurt, and it clearly didn’t.

  26. Like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    Sometimes longer isn’t better. If you have to explain that it’s a “Soccer Club” by putting “Soccer Club” in the name, you’re not doing it right.

  27. Why not capitalize on regional history and the fact that the fanbase straddles the KC-MO line and go with something like the “Border Ruffians”?

    Sounds great!!!

    (consults wikipedia)

    Er…check that.

  28. As a impartial fan I say that Sporting Kansas City is tough to swallow. Sporting KC I could wrap my head around. PS – Im a 34 year old woman in Utah who has been following Sporting Lisbon for a couple of years, we have heard of them here in the West too. Im just sayin’….

  29. I posted this previously but I think KC 11 would be a cool association to the number of players of the starting 11 on the field, sort of like an honor. Also note that the name change can take place in 2011. So you do the name in roman numerals like KC XI and take it from there.

    Just my opinion, don’t throw tomatoes at me or send me hate, just my 2 tiny cents.

  30. Athletic or Athletics was even more in line with Philadelphia sports history, since the A’s played here for a half-century or so, but as Andy Mead points out, baseball blocks the way on that name.

  31. I like and respect Dustin but he’s totally off-base here. All KC is trying to do is replace some of the negative associations–the 1990s level of play, the goofy rainbow uniforms (not just from the home team), the 90% empty Arrowhead, soccer-on-a-baseball-field–with something closer to a blank slate, so that at least there’s a chance some people will look at what MLS is today (with its tailor-made stadiums, better play, better presentation) without the old stuff being a drag on it.

    Whatever new name one picked might have associations of its own, and if KC sucks the place up on the field and in the FO, of course it’s not going to help. But if they did get things pointed in the right direction, even to a moderate extent, then some of the new stadium looky loos who haven’t been around in 8 years might form more favorable impressions.

    I’m not here to say the new name is right. But I can see the motivation for a name change.

  32. It makes MLS look bush league to have all these teams changing names. Especially when they change their names to retahded shit like FC Dallas or Sporting Kansas City. How many NFL teams have changed their names since, oh, 1930 or so? Pick a name and stick with it. I remember thinking Crew was the dumbest name of all time. Now it has been replaced by Real Salt Lake, but even that has grown on me to the point where it doesn’t make me sick to my stomach with its stupidity, but I just kind of psychologically roll my eyes with great force.

    I think you can make a pretty good case that rebranding hasn’t really helped any team in MLS. And for trying to forget empty Arrowhead, gay Charlie Brown shirts (NTTAWWT), etc., you are also forgetting some very good Wiz/ards teams, including champion.

  33. Just as bush league as when Newton Heath abandoned 24 years of history? Or Arsenal going through three rebrandings? Or how Dinamo Zagreb thought “Croatia Zagreb” was a much better name, and then decided to change back to Dinamo 10 years later?

    I mean, what’s more Europosing than blindly believing Europe is this land of organic, unchanging club identities, despite obvious examples to the contrary, and getting all worked up when stuff happens in MLS that happens in pretty much every league in the world, including our precious European leagues?

  34. does it really matter?…I mean do people really care if their team is called the Colts, Jaguars, or the Browns?…Hell, ever see an ARizona Cardinal or a St Louis Ram?..or how about an Orlando Cepeda?…if it is too be Sporting Kansas be it…I would still watch them and support them..don’t like the name, buy yourself a team

  35. OnGoal should make the name as Sporting USA, so the name could suck more.

    Oh well, this will be another crappy team name for the league.

  36. Obviously, Indianapolis fans don’t care whose corpse they rob, nickname-wise. But the Browns were named after a true Ohio football legend. (If his name had been Paul Lipschitz, though, they might have been named something else.)

    Much like the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers should switch nicknames, these two should be involved in a three-way trade. The Cardinals go “back” to St. Louis, the Rams go “back” to a new Los Angeles team, and Arizona can pick a non-asinine name. Yes, I know the Chicago Cardinals were named after the color, the way the Browns weren’t, and so there’s no reason why Arizona can’t keep the name. I don’t care.

    EDIT – I have no opinions on MLS name changes until they actually happen…and even then, fans not in the KC MLS catchment area have little input. Back in the turn of the 20th century, journalists could start calling a team “Cubs” or “Dodgers” out of nowhere and have it stick, but those days are sadly long gone. (Or not so sadly, if you’re black or female and want to vote, or some such.)

  37. You know there is no club called Sporting Lisbon, don’t you?

    As silly as the Wizards name is, it’s no sillier than other American team sports names, so you might as well stick with it. After a while, people get used to any amount of silliness. “Sheffield Wednesday” doesn’t sound silly in England, it’s just the name of a football club. “Wizards” has 14 years of history about it, which would be thrown away with a branding change.

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