Speros: Nickname to help identity

June 28, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore Football Club owner Jim Speros said his sudden decision to give his team a nickname is based primarily on the need to boost the franchise's identity.

Speros, who hinted earlier this month that he would come up with a nickname after the 1995 season, announced during Saturday's 37-0 exhibition victory over Birmingham that he would christen Baltimore with an official moniker the day before its July 8 home opener against San Antonio.

"I've been working behind the scenes with legal people and trademark people on some different names. We're scrambling to get this done," Speros said.

"I think it's important that the guys have their own identity and not live in the past," he added. "After we fought the NFL last year [over the use of 'Colts'], the players went through the season with no name, which was unique. We shouldn't hang on to 1994. It's time to end that chapter and move on. These guys deserve their own name."

Speros, who said the nickname will be horse-related, thus remaining consistent with the team logo, said some new team-related merchandise -- T-shirts, caps, sweatshirts -- will be on sale to fans at the home opener.

He also refuted the notion that his change of heart is related to slow ticket sales. Baltimore barely sold 20,000 tickets to its home exhibition game, about 8,000 fewer than the smallest crowd during its inaugural season last year.

Ten days before the home opener against San Antonio, he said about 18,500 tickets have been sold.

"That [ticket sales] wasn't the motivating force behind it [his decision]," said Speros, who added that fan feedback caused him to push up his schedule on the nickname.

"I think having a nickname will help us market the team, but this was more emotional than anything else."

Baltimore went through most of the 1994 season as the CFLs, before deciding during the offseason to call itself the Baltimore Football Club.

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