Two heavyweight sporting codes set to go head-to-head.
The Australian Football League (AFL) in particular the Essendon Football Club (aka the Bombers) and the National Rugby League (NRL) along with a bid team (aiming to become Queensland’s fourth NRL side, also branding themselves as the Bombers) are possibly set to enter a legal battle – a legal battle that will be interesting to follow as historically both codes have had a tendency to ruffle each others feathers on a range of matters with neither taking likely to defeat.
On Thursday July 14, 2011, the Brisbane Expansion Bid announced their name for a proposed expanded NRL competition: The Brisbane Bombers and should they win admission to the NRL, the Brisbane Bombers’ colours will predominantly be navy and orange, with a touch of maroon – a far cry from the black and red of the Essendon Bombers, but!
The name could spark a legal battle with the 16-time AFL premiers Essendon as chief executive Ian Robson was quoted saying, “our club has been around for 130 years and the Bomber name has enormous brand equity as a football club around Australia. There have been examples of teams co-existing such as the West Tigers in the NRL rugby league and the Tigers of Richmond, but those Tigers clubs go back a long way in both codes.”
If you look even further into similar club names and brands you have the NSW Blues and the Carlton Blues, the Australian Kangaroos and North Melbourne Kangaroos and how about the Bulldogs? But again these trace back many, many years, let’s face it the Brisbane Bombers (if granted Queensland’s fourth NRL side) are a start-up club and need to earn their following and brand equity like every other well known brand or club around the world including the Essendon Football Club who have done so successfully for the past 130 years.
Being a passionate Essendon supporter myself (ok so I might be a little a bias) and having worked in the creative brand space for many years I am amazed at the shortlist disclosed outlining the possible other names that included; Barracudas, Bayliners, Bobcats, Braves and Heat. So the question has to be asked, why wouldn’t they have chosen something a little less obvious or controversial?
The NRL are continually disassociating themselves from the AFL (and vice versa) and rightly so as they’re two completely different codes, but this has to be a complete error in judgement!
Arguments, lawyers and naming issues aside, if you want your brand screaming out to the crowd then give us a call.