February 15, 2006
1836 no more?

The new MLS team Houston 1836 is considering a name change.

Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia said Tuesday that Philip Anschutz, owner of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which in turn controls 1836, confirmed that a name change is in the works for the Major League Soccer franchise.

"He (Anschutz) indicated that they (AEG) were strongly considering a name change, and before the weekend was over they committed that they would be doing it." said Garcia, whose director of communications, Paul Mabry, met with Anschutz over the weekend in Los Angeles. "I've confirmed that (that they would change the name) today (Tuesday) with the owner, Philip Anschutz, who's the CEO of the Anschutz Entertainment Group. I suspect we'll be hearing an official announcement very soon."

A person close to the situation said "Lonestar" or "Lone Star" looks to be the team's next name. Choices such as Apollos or Mustangs also are being considered, the person said. An announcement is expected no later than Tuesday.

KHOU had reported this earlier (link via Houstonist). I liked and still like the 1836 name. I'm going to gag if they swap it out for some variation on "Lone Star", even if they promise to revive the old Lone Star Beer commercial jingle that I love to hate as their team song. Pretty much every one of these names is better than Lone Star(s).

Of course, to be fair, I'm not very likely to ever buy a ticket to a Houston Name-Still-Pending game. So, as far as that goes, they really ought not to care what I think about their name.

In case you care, here's what some other people think: Sue thought "Houston 1836" was boring, so she's glad for the change. Rob is appalled. Stace is elated.

Closing thought: The article doesn't mention it, so I'm going to speculate that if season ticket sales had been meeting or exceeding expectations up till now, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I'd love to know if the name change, once it's officially announced, has any effect one way or the other.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 15, 2006 to Other sports | TrackBack

I don't care what the reason was for getting rid of it. As long as it's gotten rid of.

It was a lousy name. Try coming up with cheers. Try making up 36-dances.

Compare that to everything Owl-related at Rice. The hand gestures on kickoffs. The mascot. It all fit together.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on February 15, 2006 10:10 AM

KHOU had reported this earlier (link via Houstonist).

Actually, they reported it even earlier than the stamp on that linked story, and so did KTRH-740.

Those two organizations really scooped the Chron, which didn't even post the news on its soccer blog (let alone the news pages) yesterday.

Posted by: kevin whited on February 15, 2006 10:18 AM

I personally preferred 1837, but that's just me.

Posted by: Wanderer on February 15, 2006 10:24 AM

I liked the concept of the name, but three people (two Latinas and one white man currently living in Mexico) all had the same immediate reaction: guess they aren't worried about attracting and/or insulting the Hispanic fan base.

I suppose it would be akin to starting a new team, calling them the rebels, and using the confederate flag as the logo. You could do it, but would it be a good idea?

Posted by: Tracy on February 15, 2006 10:25 AM

I hate soccer but it's nice to see that someone ws listening to the Latino community's concerns. I could see it now ... Houston 1836 Vs. Team Mexico... not pretty. But Kuff, I think you're right - the main reason the name is changing is because the tickets weren't selling.

Posted by: Marie on February 15, 2006 1:31 PM

I like Apollos. Almost all our other team names are space-related, and I think it's a neat tradition.

Posted by: Leisa on February 15, 2006 3:38 PM

As I posted on this very blog right after the name was announced:

But even though 1836 is presumably for the founding of Houston and not Texas independence, it would seem to me that folks of Mexican ancestry might construe it as the latter and be put off by it, as if it were a reminder of seizing Texas from Mexico.

Maybe they should have hired me to do their market research.

Posted by: Tim on February 15, 2006 6:36 PM

I put down a deposit for season tickets weeks ago. They said someone would be contacting me, but I haven't heard anything yet. Strange.

Posted by: doug on February 16, 2006 6:27 AM

It was sponsor concern -- not a lack of ticket sales -- that prompted the name change. The club realized that many sponsors/potential sponsors were growing wary about Houston 1836.

Plus, it doesn't help your cause if local politicians on Commissioners Court are publicly asking you to reconsider.

Posted by: John Wagner on February 16, 2006 7:52 AM