Thursday, March 09, 2006

Red Bull(shit)

Is rebranding a future we'll have to face up to in football on this side of the pond too?

"Red Bull GmbH, makers of the famous energy drink, is looking to bring Major League Soccer's MetroStars franchise into its fold, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The MetroStars are currently owned by Los Angeles' Anschutz Entertainment Group and play in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ

The Austria-based Red Bull owns the Red Bull Salzburg soccer club in the Austrian First Division. When Red Bull bought the club in April 2005, it renamed the team, which had been called SV Wüstenrot Salzburg, in a rebranding effort.

The report said a similar renaming/rebranding would take place if the company buys the MetroStars.

So there you have it: Red Bull gives you wings, and whitewashes your football club's name and history. The reaction of American football bloggers to the news appears to have been one of distinct unease.

Of course, the branding of stadia has been happening over here for a number of years - in the Premiership we've already got the JJB and the Reebok, while they'll be joined next season by Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and the name of Boro's Riverside was originally prefixed with that of their main sponsor Cellnet. There are several others outside the top tier, too. It's not too great a step to go from there to alterations to kit and club name to suit the money men. Cash talks, and clubs (our own included) seem only too willing to bend over backwards to get their hands on it. Much as I hope the takeover / corporate shafting of the New York MetroStars doesn't set a precedent, I'm not too optimistic.


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