REBRANDING: NOT ALWAYS A SMART MOVE?

REBRANDING: NOT ALWAYS A SMART MOVE?

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Poor Hull City FC. Or is that poor Hull City Tigers? The club, founded in 1904, has recently been re-registered as Hull City Tigers by its businessman owner and chairman, Assam Allam.

Egyptian-born Allam moved to the East Ridings in the 1960s, and it seems he’s keen to spice up one of Yorkshire’s sporting institutions, Hull City.

The football club has been nicknamed ‘The Tigers’ for many years, but Allam’s re-registration has thrust this moniker into the spotlight. In 2014, he hopes to drop the ‘City’ altogether, and rename the club the rather American-inspired ‘Hull Tigers’.

Allam’s view is that ‘in marketing, the shorter the name, the better’. He feels that the word ‘city’ is a ‘common, lousy identity’, as it is associated with numerous sports teams.

While it’s undeniable that ‘Hull Tigers’ is punchy and attention-grabbing, you can’t forget that Hull City has well over 100 years of history attached to it. The people who have ensured the club’s success and longevity are the fans – the same fans that are running a ‘Hull City ‘Till We Die’ campaign. Looks like the change is not exactly popular…

Allam insensitively replied to supporters with the comment: “They can die as soon as they want, as long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football.” This not entirely tactful reply understandably did nothing to pacify the die-hard supporters.

The moral of this story is that change isn’t always good, or even necessary. In this instance, it seems that Allam has forgotten that Hull City is an institution in the area. Football fans feel an emotional connection to ‘their’ team, and the thought that someone can make such drastic changes hurts them. Yes, ‘Hull Tigers’ might be catchy, but if Allam alienates core supporters through this, it poses the question of what the point of the exercise really is?