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Are Names More Memorable Than Games?

July 11, 1993|BRIAN JARAMILLO

They say that naming a pop sports team is a lot like naming your kid: Look for something different, but not something people will laugh at.

After perusing the nicknames of the Big Four pop sports--World TeamTennis, Arena football, Roller Hockey International, and the Continental Indoor Soccer League--it appears that most everyone was clear on that concept.

Most everyone.

A few team owners ignored conventional wisdom, creating nicknames that break the rules in their own progressive, endearing kind of way.

How else can you explain roller hockey's Vancouver Voodoo or Calgary Rad'z?

Or, a tennis team called the Penguins?

Or, the Anaheim Bullfrogs? Is that another Mickey Mouse name or what?

Well, at least it's original and somewhat imaginative, not like a few years ago when Arena football teams kept offering us generic, dull, singular nicknames such as Detroit Drive , Charlotte Rage , Tampa Bay Storm and San Antonio Force .

That kind of brain lock has subsided, and now, it appears, upstart team owners are confident in taking nicknames where no nickname has gone before.

Case in point: the Miami Hooters, an Arena football team named for the Hooters restaurant chain, whose main selling point is, uh, scantily clad waitresses.

"Some people say, 'Oh, (the name is) offensive to women,' " says Carrie Tymosko, the team's media director. "But we have (seven) women working here."

That didn't stop Arena football league officials from discussing the name's possible fallout, before reluctantly letting it stand.

"It's difficult to tell a guy (Hooters owner Dave Lageschulte) that you can't name a team Hooters when . . . you can name a restaurant Hooters," said Gordon Kaye, Arena football's executive assistant to the commissioner.

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