What’s in a nickname?
The Warriors or Redbacks or Tigers adds personality to a team. It’s a godsend for marketers too – an emblem and slogan become an easier choice. And, most obviously, it’s simpler for fans, commentators and others attached to the game.
“What are you doing this afternoon?”
“We’re off to watch the Warr… Western Australia men’s team”
There’s no ring to it.
So, why the change?
The board argues that the names were first introduced in the mid-1990s to attract a new and young audience. Now, apparently having achieved this, the nicknames – the Western Fury and the Western Warriors – have been retired.
It seems a curious decision. Even if there has been a sharp spike in membership – which is unlikely but could be the case due to the rise in prominence of women’s cricket and the success of the Big Bash League – a change in name to something so generic is unlikely to generate further growth.
And what of the Perth Scorchers?
Technically they’re still a branch of Western Australian cricket. So why not maintain consistency and change this name too?
It seems Western Australia has followed Cricket Australia’s lead. The Southern Stars, the national women’s team, are no more, and last year Cricket Victoria dumped their monikers, the Bushrangers and the Spirit in favour of the men’s and women’s team respectively.
A superficial look suggests the reason is for the sake of simplicity, but perhaps the answer lies closer to political correctness. It takes so little to offend nowadays.
Teams around the globe, whether spurred by internal and external forces, have changed names and logos due to the discomfort generated by potentially polarising monikers.
The Cleveland Indians of the NFL are an example. Although they didn’t change their name, they did abandon their synonymous logo, Chief Wahoo, due to racial undertones. The Washington Redskins, although unyielding, have been under the public pump since the 1960s.
The Warriors, the Crusaders, the Bushrangers – they’re aggressive names with an attachment to violence.
So did Western Australian cricket opt for blandness with its name changes to improve brand consistency? Or was it a proactive move to subdue a potential political storm?