Time to name Ottawa's new CFL team

Future owner of the new Ottawa CFL football team Jeff Hunt. (MATTHEW USHERWOOD/QMI Agency file...

Future owner of the new Ottawa CFL football team Jeff Hunt. (MATTHEW USHERWOOD/QMI Agency file photo)

TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:53 PM ET

OTTAWA - Soon enough, Ottawas CFL team will have a name and a logo and its likely to be big on the cool and hip factor.

Its not likely to be Rivermen or Lumberjacks or Capitals or any other number of names attached to the history or heritage of Ottawa. And it wont be the Rough Riders, a condition agreed upon when Ottawa was accepted back into the CFL for the 2014 season.

In fact, the owners of the CFL team, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, will be looking at a specific demographic when it rolls out its Name the Team campaign as early as next week.

Weve got to come up with a name thats going to connect with the so-called lost generation of people we keep talking about in Ottawa that 20-35-year-old range. It has to be a name that resonates with them, connects with them, OSEGs Jeff Hunt said Tuesday.

Thats not to say we dont care about the rest of the people. But that (20-35) fan base is so essential to our success that weve got to put an emphasis on a name that will excite that part of the market.

The campaign, once it is launched, will be a short one, perhaps only 10 days. Its expected that the CFL team will have a name by late January or early February.

Ive always said there are a number of nice-to-haves and one of them is an R name, but its not a must-have in my mind. Certainly that has an appeal, said Hunt.

A name that connects with Ottawas history is a nice-to-have, but not a must-to-have. Thats what the Rough Riders were, a name that had a connection to Ottawas history. But is that why people supported the Rough Riders in the 80s? Ive talked to thousands of people who really didnt know the origin of the Rough Rider name. And, in fact, the origin is a matter of debate. I dont know that I know exactly yet what the origin of the name is. We did a pretty exhaustive piece of research on that topic and it was inconclusive, even through historians.

Hunt will be drawing on his experience as 67s owner when it comes time to pick a football team name.

I make the comparison to when I bought the 67s and the barber pole jersey tested horribly among children. They didnt like it, said Hunt. I remember saying to our ad agency ... think about the San Jose Sharks, for awhile they had the No. 1-selling jersey in the league and it was very popular among kids. We created a logo that was in that genre and it did connect well with the young kids.

Now were at a point where the barber pole is cool with kids. I think it would have been an obstacle to us if we had relied just on the barber pole as our image. In a roundabout way, we have to do something similar for football in this market to make it appeal to a younger fan base. Thats not the say you cant have a retro game once a year and maybe use the old Rough Rider jersey. Its not that I dont want any connection to history. That would be totally inappropriate. But I think we have an image and a brand that is cool and hip and will connect with that younger fan base.

Cartoony might be going too far down the youth road. Im not looking at something to appeal to six-year-olds, either. (The 67s) wheelhouse is ages 4-11 ... thats not going to be football.

Im drawing on the 67s to recreate a look and a feel, but were not going quite as young.

tim.baines@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @timcbaines


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