Friday, April 22, 2016

What about Boudreaux and the Bali Hais?

Some of you may remember that, back in November, the New Orleans Zephyrs of Kenner minor league baseball team was sold to a new ownership group
The Zephyrs, Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, will be in New Orleans through at least 2020 and will do so with a new ownership group and day-to-day management team, the Zephyrs announced Monday afternoon.

Yes2No, LLC purchased 50 percent of the franchise from long-time sole owner Don Beaver. Lou Schwechheimer manages and controls Yes2No, LLC.

Schwechheimer's team will run the day-to-day management of the Zephyrs.
We flagged the news at the time because 1) The new owner was an out-of-town investor whose prior experience was with running the minor league team in Rhode Island. 2) His first press conference in New Orleans included these comments.
New Orleans will be in the top tier of attendance, because this is a great town. This is a resilient town. This is a magical town..
So Schwechheimer already sounds like an insufferable Jazzfest tourist.  Worse still, he's the kind of wealthy Jazzfest tourist who decides to buy himself a slice of the resilient magic.  At one time, this might have been a mere annoyance. But lately it's become a more existential threat to a lot of us.

No, Schwechheimer can't put Zephyr field up on Airbnb. Not yet, anyway. The neighborhood is still a little too "remote but up and coming" for that.  It's really still in more of that "cabs wouldn't go there" phase. And that calls for a re-branding.
The New Orleans Zephyrs will have a new name next season.

The team announced Friday that it will allow fans to suggest and vote on a new name, which will be the team's moniker beginning with the 2017 season. The franchise has been known as the Zephyrs since it moved from Denver to New Orleans in 1993.

According to a news release, a "Name the Team" campaign will run from April 25 to May 6. Fans are encouraged to visit zephyrsbaseball.com and submit their ideas. The top choices will then go into a voting contest.

A winner will be announced in the fall.

“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm the entire New Orleans community has shown as we strive to bring a new energy and electricity to the ballpark every single day,” team president Lou Schwechheimer said. “By giving our great fans a voice through the name-the-team contest, we expect to create magic for generations to come.”
Of course the fans already had a strong voice in this 20 years ago when the public more or less demanded the team retain the Zephyrs name upon arrival.  The Zephyr was the name of a beloved roller coaster at the old Pontchartrain Beach amusement park and an icon of local nostalgia.  Sure, that was a long time ago. Heck, I'm barely old enough to remember Pontchartrain Beach. The one time we went as a family I wasn't even yet "tall enough to ride" the Zephyr. It scared the shit out of me. Still, the quirky obscurity of the hyper-local history reference only got to be more fun over time. It's exactly the sort of thing people around here revel in explaining at length when given an opportunity.

A wealthy transplant like Schwechheimer isn't going to care about any of that stuff, though. All he sees is a heretofore undiscovered "blank slate" in need of creative development. To that end, he has hired a marketing firm (from out of town, of course) to help guide the renaming process. It may or may not inspire confidence to know what name this company has chosen for itself.
With the help of Brandiose, a San Diego-based sports marketing company which has overseen rebranding efforts for more than 50 minor league teams, the Zephyrs will conduct an online "Name the Team" campaign from April 25 through May 6.
Oookay.. good luck with that.  Anyway, the first thought here would be for fans who like the name as it is to merely stuff the online comment space with votes for "Zephyrs."  But we're pretty sure the team is determined to change the name regardless.  So maybe a slight update is in order. After all, Zephyr is a thing that happened two whole defunct amusement parks ago now. What do y'all think of calling them the New Orleans MegaZephs?

Update: Added a B&G Review link post-publication. Looks like Bradley wrote a better post about the same topic.

No comments: