Bristol Bears: Proprietor Steve Lansdown ready for
Bristol Rugby proprietor Steve Lansdown says he’s ready for “some dissenters” after deciding to rebrand the club Bristol Bears from subsequent season.
The title was launched with a glitzy ceremony and brochure on Monday however got here with criticism from some followers.
Bristol will return to the Premiership as Bristol Bears from 1 June.
Branding specialists have questioned the shortage of session with supporters and warned the membership might obtain some “ridicule” within the quick time period.
Lansdown, who additionally owns Bristol Metropolis FC and helped transfer the rugby membership to Ashton Gate in 2015-16, believes the rebrand will “create one thing new and thrilling everybody should buy into”.
“We’ll take care of our present supporters,” he advised BBC Factors West. “We’ll take care of them and there is plans for thrilling new issues at Ashton Gate.
“However, going ahead, we have to entice new supporters and with 27,000 seats to fill, our ambition is to have the ability to try this frequently.
“We would like an increasing number of folks recognising Bristol Bears going ahead and it is a hotbed of rugby and the rugby membership it’s best to assist.”
‘Threat and alternative’
Bristol, whose promotion to the Premiership was secured earlier this month, won’t be the one sporting membership to undertake the Bears nickname. Warwickshire County Cricket Membership and Chicago Bears within the NFL are simply two examples.
Supporters and Bristol residents have taken to social media to recommend alternate options extra in tune with the town’s heritage and historical past.
“The extent of session with followers is the actual essential facet,” co-founder of the Home model company Steve Fuller advised BBC Radio Bristol.
“Sport is a grass-roots phenomenon and it’s best to contain followers from the beginning of any choice like this.
“The concept we’re all averse to vary is not true. What we’re actually averse to is being given one thing fairly than being concerned within the course of.”
Following the announcement, response from followers on Twitter sprung up quite a few memes and GIFs poking enjoyable on the selection of nickname, one thing Steve believes is a part of the method.
“There’s danger and alternative in a rebrand,” he mentioned. “To date, you are seeing a number of the backlash and concern in regards to the title, so instantly there’s danger and many concern about ridicule.
“I actually perceive the notion of what Bear Spirit is.
“However, my sense is that with the membership’s 130 years of historical past, there’s an genuine, actual story in Bristol that may nonetheless speak to that sense of spirit, journey and dynamism.”
Lansdown ‘can do what he desires’
Regardless of coming as a “full shock” to the membership’s personal historian Mark Hoskins, Steve Lansdown’s choice to rebrand remains to be comprehensible in his view.
“It isn’t going to cease folks watching Bristol and on the finish of the day, Steve can do what he pleases as he is the person who backs the membership,” he advised BBC Radio Bristol.
“It is his cash that is going into it and it is because of him we’re the place we’re, transferring ahead again into the Premiership subsequent season and never simply seeking to survive this time.
“The sticking level for many supporters is the shortage of the town crest on the brand new shirt and the lack of the coat of arms. I am additionally not satisfied we will hear a lot ‘c’mon the Bears’ on the terraces subsequent season.
“Individuals will nonetheless chant ‘c’mon Bris’ or ‘Bristol, Bristol’ as an alternative.
“However, if it was left to me, we might nonetheless be taking part in on the Memorial Floor and in blue and white hoops with letters on the again of the shirts.”
Making it in America
Bristol’s title change comes after Premiership Rugby recently sold its naming rights to United States-based insurance brokers Gallagher, a transfer that was seen to enhance the competitors’s footprint throughout the Atlantic the place matches have been hosted lately and a tv contract with NBC has been signed.
Dr Elisavet Argyro Manoli, a lecturer in sports activities advertising and communications at Loughborough College, mentioned the title change could possibly be seen as making the membership “extra American”.
Nevertheless, she added that taking ‘rugby’ from the membership’s title could be seen as robbing followers of a means of referring to it.
“There’s nothing that speaks to followers when it’s a bear,” Manoli mentioned.
“Rugby is an identifier for rugby followers, a way of delight. To lose that’s the reason folks could also be irritated.”
She additionally added that when a model relaunch is completed proper, “it could possibly work within the membership’s favour”.
“Earlier examples recommend that merchandise gross sales go up as a result of folks purchase into the brand new model, brand and new title and they’re going to endorse it and categorical their curiosity by likes and with social media shares.”
As for being the butt of web jokes, Manoli mentioned it could possibly assist rapidly unfold the model to individuals who in any other case wouldn’t take discover of the membership.
Nevertheless, she rapidly factors out that issues can “go unhealthy”, because it did for Leeds United after they had a brand new crest mocked earlier this yr, which led to the membership delaying the introduction of a brand new design till the 2019-20 season.