Myrtle Beach Pelicans have fun with NBA’s New Orleans franchise taking name

Now that the NBA’s New Orleans franchise has officially changed its name from the Hornets to Pelicans — effective at the beginning of the 2013-14 season — and unveiled its new logo, we’ll have to see if the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League were serious about their own rebranding.

We first heard from the Myrtle Beach contingent — which serves as the Advanced Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, by the way — when the New Orleans Pelicans rumors began circulating back in December. At first it was a little difficult to tell if they’re being serious or just reacting in a "tongue-in-beak" manner, but the gist of their message was that they were willing and ready to rebrand their own team with a New Orleans-themed name in response.

Here’s an excerpt from their press release:

The re-branding and promotional plan would not only pay homage to everything New Orleans, but would provide Minor League Baseball fans from the Grand Strand an opportunity not extended to basketball fans in Louisiana — participating in selecting the team's new nickname. Using the same level of out-of-the-box thinking used by the Hornets, nickname choices have been narrowed to Saints, Hornets, Jazz, Bayou Bengals, Ragin' Cajuns and Voodoo, along with any other current or former sports nickname the club could poach from the Bayou State.

After going back to read the release in full, I will continue siding heavily with Myrtle Beach playing the entertainment card. It’s just not that unusual for professional and collegiate sports team to share names and even logos, and it would be quite silly to get too worked up about it. Not to mention it would be a little expensive to go through the whole rebranding process.

Regardless of intentions, the team has done a nice job gaining publicity for themselves, and have also gone to great lengths coming up with New Orleans style themes that they say would be used if the switch was made.

Those would include:

• A different NOLA-themed promotion for every day of the week would be incorporated. The lineup would feature events such as Mardi Gras Mondays, Fat Tuesdays and Big Easy Fridays (featuring the music of Al Hirt, Louis Armstrong, Aaron Neville and other New Orleans legends).

• Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be invited to toss out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2013 season and a season-long "Superdome" promotion would be instituted, providing ticket discounts to anyone with a "bald dome."

• Team merchandise would obviously include team beads, as well as NOLA-themed t-shirts, and plush dolls of mascot Splash would be turned into Voodoo dolls.

The decision would come down to a fan vote according to the release, and the changes would go into effect this season. So I guess we’ll know soon enough if they‘re serious. And if they actually are serious, well, that would actually be pretty cool. We would very much look forward to seeing how the whole rebranding thing played out.

Big BLS H/N: Cut 4

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