'Just bite the bullet': The pros and cons of renaming the Edmonton Eskimos
EDMONTON -- Renaming Edmonton's beloved CFL team won't be an easy process, but one branding expert says it will be worth the effort.
"It's going to be hard and it's going to be awkward, what a lot of the time you need to do is just bite the bullet," Michael Brechtel with Berlin Advertising and Public Relations said on CTV Morning Live Edmonton on Monday.
The team has not yet confirmed that it will change its name, despite reports from TSN that a decision to do so had been made last week.
Pressure has mounted in recent weeks for sports teams to eliminate racist or stereotypical names.
Critics say the Edmonton team's name is a derogatory term. In recent weeks, two major sponsors have also called on the team to choose a new moniker.
Brechtel said embracing a name change could help the team bring a new generation of fans to the game.
"A renaming that's done in a manner that does a better job of capturing kind of this city where it is today, that might actually be a significant opportunity for the team," he said. "Though the city has doubled in size, their fan base has shrunk."
He acknowledged that some people are very attached to the old name and being a fan of the Edmonton Eskimos can feel like a part of their personal identity.
"I don't want to downplay the concerns or the challenge people are going to face going through this but keeping fans engaged is going to mean doing a good job of providing a great fan experience moving forward, whatever the name is," Brechtel said.
The Edmonton Eskimos organization has said its research shows a majority of northern Indigenous communities support its current team name. The information was included in the team's annual general report, released on July 15. 2020.