The CFL team, formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos, saw a “very big” increase in sales of clothing and other items bearing the now defunct name, said the general manager of the ‘team.
“It is, at this point, a collector’s item for many,” said Chris Presson, CEO of the team, who will be called interim Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team as he struggles to decide. a new permanent name.
The organization announced Tuesday that its board of directors has decided to remove the word “Eskimo” from the name. The move came after growing pressure from sponsors and fans to drop the nickname seen by some critics as an outdated and derogatory term for Inuit, and a similar decision by Washington’s National Football League team to withdraw its name. and its logo.
The Edmonton team’s online store, which sells clothing and novelty items bearing the “Eskimos” name, warned of “a high volume of orders” on Wednesday.
While that warning has been in place for several weeks, the team has confirmed that sales have increased significantly after the name change was announced on Tuesday.
Buyers “see it as an iconic old Canadian name and iconic Canadian company, and they want what they can get to remember it,” Presson said.
The Edmonton team plans to continue selling the products while supplies last.
The team likely has a “substantial” amount of inventory right now, he said, due to COVID-19’s postponement of the 2020 Canadian Football League season.
It would exacerbate the organization’s tax problems to write off all that inventory as a waste, he said.
“We have all been hit hard financially by COVID,” he said, adding that the team had not played a game this year and, if the season begins, they likely won’t have a home game.
“So we have no income and we only had expenses,” he explained, adding “our intention is – within reason – to continue to sell it, to try to move it. as much as possible, so we don’t. ” t take a total loss on what we have already made a major investment in.
The team has yet to decide on a new name and this process, including the production of merchandise bearing it, “will likely take much more than a year than several months,” he said.
They hope to keep the green and gold color scheme and double E logo, he noted, which means the new and old gear should have similarities.
The team will need to work with its licensees to create new products once they choose a name. Typically, licensing agreements require the team to notify partners of a change like this at least a year in advance, Presson said, adding that the team is holding a license call today. to address some of these issues.
He will also have to go through the process of branding and registering the new name, which will take some time.
Presson isn’t worried about a possible lack of sales if the team runs out of current stock before the new memorabilia goes on sale.
“I think it’s more important that we get what we’re going to do in the future correctly,” he said, rather than rushing to avoid a sales gap.
“I’d rather not have anything to sell than release a product we’re not happy with, or a name we’re not happy with, or rush something into the market where we haven’t done our due diligence.” collecting feedback from fans and partners.
It is important that both groups stay with the team as they undergo a rebranding during this financial crisis, he said.
Old equipment with the old name will not be banned from games when they are restarted.
“We are not going to stop what people’s freedoms are and what they want to do and what they can do.”