The Washington Football Team is set to debut its next name in about a week, and if the club was ever looking for a blueprint to follow for such a momentous occasion, Washington state's new hockey team sure seemed to have provided one with its own launching.
In July 2020, the Seattle Kraken officially joined the ranks of the NHL, and the manner in which that franchise rolled out its fresh brand was lauded.
It's certainly easier to begin anew as opposed to replacing a moniker that stood for decades upon decades like the Burgundy and Gold are about to do, but even so, the Kraken's reveal was worth learning from.
Unlike the Cleveland Guardians, who announced their change with a Twitter video on a summer Friday morning (yes, Tom Hanks narrated it, but still) and a lone accompanying press conference featuring a few executives, Seattle completely nailed its proclamation from top to bottom.
From the way the Kraken unveiled its name (the CEO did so on a live stream while standing in the bowl of the under-construction arena Seattle would ultimately call home and, after that, a massive banner emblazoned with the logo was raised) to how the Kraken's jerseys and logo paid tribute to the Seattle Metropolitans (who won a Stanley Cup in 1917) to, of course, straight-fire hype videos, the squad made a supremely convincing arrival.
Now, other options beyond Kraken were in the mix. Sockeyes and Totems were, in particular, quite popular among the area's supporters, and according to a Seattle Times poll, they were in fact the most popular.
So, knowing that chunks of the base would inevitably be disappointed that their top choice wasn't selected, the Kraken prioritized coming up with a total package that was simply too good to be upset with.
"We do love our fans," president Tod Leiweke said at the time. "And even fans where it’s not their favorite, they’ll know that this is a brand that loves them back, and they will eventually come around.”
Anyone else think that could be a useful approach for, say, a local NFL outfit? You know, maybe one that's alienated a lot of folks since the turn of the century and would really benefit from a major off-field victory?
With Washington's significant day scheduled for next Wednesday, it's assumed that most, if not all, of the plan is finalized. Those plans remain largely a mystery, but it's understood that The Today Show will be involved and a press event will be held at FedEx Field that morning.
Therefore, this story is less of a Here's how Washington should follow the Kraken's rollout and more of a Let's hope Washington was paying attention to and taking notes during the Kraken's rollout. In other words, there's only a couple of seconds left in what's been a marathon of a game, meaning there's no time for any huge adjustments.
On top of that, Washington has already erred in the eyes of some by not allowing fans to attend its initial release. Plus, the beloved Red Wolves name was recently eliminated from the running due to potential legal battles, removing one possibility that had tons of support.
Jason Wright and Co. are attempting to land this thing as smoothly as they can, but there have been bumps as of late.
However, those minor inconveniences will be forgotten if Washington comes across as prepared and creative on Feb. 2. If those behind the switch from Football Team to ______ combine an excellent presentation with cutting-edge uniforms, eye-catching logos and much more, this sure-to-be-polarizing decision will be less so.
Sure, it's a lot to ask — especially with this operation — but it can be done. With just one crack at this rollout, Washington will soon show if it can be like the Kraken.