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Leonsis says he's "punting" on Wizards name change

This town remains so worked up about the Wizards-Bullets debate that a single Ted Leonsis blog post suggesting a name change was "under consideration" was enough to elicit this, this, this, this, this, multiple sports talk radio segments, a Post editorial, a City Paper blog post about said editorial, and a follow-up Leonsis blog post about said editorial. That all came from two words: "under consideration."

Leonsis discussed the issue at length Tuesday on DC101's Elliot in the Morning, and the upshot is that any consideration here is of the back-burner variety.

"I'm being very sincere and direct, I've probably gotten 8,000 e-mails, and I'll betcha 2,500 of them have argued very passionately why we should change the name back to the Bullets, or why we should keep the name Wizards, or why we should have a new name," he said. "And a re-branding effort is truly a massive undertaking, because people forget, you're not just changing a name or creating a new name in your own building for your own team, it ripples through national television, all the local networks, all the local teams. I mean, it's a big effort, and it honestly takes no less than 25 months, and it's millions and millions and millions of dollars.

"And so I have so much to do, and there's so much work immediately in front of us, and there are so many investments that we need to make, I've honestly decided to just punt on the decision. I don't think it's a decision that heeds to be reached right now. I think the most important thing is rebuild the team and get through this list of 101 things to do.

"I do want to change the colors. I think that it's very natural for all of the teams to play in that building to sport a red, white and blue motif, and so yes, the fans can expect some kind of re-imagineering, an homage to the past in terms of colors and design. But as to the name change, there really is zero going on right now. And I'm listening to the fans, and it's funny how when you're passionate about something, you sometimes lose your empathy that there might be another viewpoint, And so people who argue so passionately about why you must change the name to the Bullets, the very next e-mail will be don't you dare, keep it at the Wizards out of respect for Mr. Pollin and [because of] violence and the like. You saw the editorial in The Washington Post.

"Then I have people who want us to change it to the Capitals, or hold a contest for a new name, but literally, 2,500 incredibly articulate, incredibly passionate e-mails and it's just so much to consider. But the season starts next week at home, the season starts Thursday on national TV, and I've had my hands full with doing things like putting beer holders over the urinals, and I got just as many passionate e-mails on I need gluten-free food, and we need kosher food, and we need more vegetarian fare. We've tried to do our best. I know we can always improve, and not everything we do will meet everyone's standards, but at least I think for the most part people realize that we are trying our best and we are listening."

By Dan Steinberg  | October 27, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Caps, Wizards  
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If they're already changing the colors how much extra is it for the name change? I imagine some of the millions and months involved in a name/logo change involve the color switch.

Not that I'm one of the 2500 or anything like that. Just kinda strikes me as odd.

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 27, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I think what he's referring to is the cost to "rebrand" all of the items. Think about it: you're not just chaning the name on the jerseys and t-shirts that you sell; its on all of the stationary, all of the publications you put out, logos around the building, etc. And of course, the cost to have the new name and logo "designed", although that would be miniscule compared to the other costs.

That being said: WHO CARES ABOUT THE COST?!?!?! Make the change, Ted, MAKE THE CHANGE!!!!! We need the "Bullets" back!

Posted by: RCBJr | October 27, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

So the Whats? are going to change their colors too???

Posted by: CapsNut | October 27, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

If Ted switches the Wiz-lets (I actually don't care either way what the name is and will let others deal with it) to red white and blue, then every team in DC will be sporting the colors - except the Redskins. Then we can get Snyder to change that offensive name and change the colors to Red, White and Blue. Brilliant!

Posted by: oldtimehockey | October 27, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I have an idea...

They should change the name of the Wizards to the Washington Bullets.

They should change the name of the Mystics to the D.C. Bullettes.

I feel both the NBA team and the WNBA team should have some sort of connection for marketing purposes. The Bullettes were the name of the old Bullets cheerleaders back in the day. It would be a cool name for our WNBA team. Wizards/Mystics is lame.

Posted by: MrWillie | October 27, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Personally, as a homage to the late Mr Pollin I would rather see the name stay as is. As for the color change I hope they stress the blue not red as red doesn't work at all as a Wizard motiff but navy blue works very well. Blue is the typical color worn in Wizard depictions to include Mickey Mouse.

Posted by: croftonpost | October 27, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse


Pay homage to a man that brought us next-to-nothing sports wise? That does not sound like a legacy I would like to pay homage to. As a citizen, husband, father, mentor, etc. Abe was a great man. He revitalized a floundering area of the city with HIS OWN FUNDS, not the city's. I respect him immensely for the things he did outside of bringing championships home. We must,though, Bring our franchise back to its roots, to its golden age.

Posted by: vrt2 | October 28, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Let's go "Federalesques!"

Posted by: wilson7 | October 28, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We must,though, Bring our franchise back to its roots, to its golden age.

Posted by: vrt2 | October 28, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse


Abe Pollin was the owner during the "golden age" of the franchise so I'm not sure I get your point.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | October 28, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I know... The Washington Cowboys! Yeehaw!

Posted by: dcunitedfan3 | October 30, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

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