What the sport of lacrosse doesn’t need is yet another professional league to dilute and confuse. What the sport does need is continued innovation and a differentiator to drive buzz and awareness with the casual sport fan. It appears in Charlotte they are getting both.
The owners of the fledgling North American Lacrosse League’s (NALL) Charlotte franchise this week announced a fun campaign through social media to name their new franchise. Designed by New York’s H2H Media, the team created a social media bracket tournament with video to allow fans to have some fun not just voting, but in creating, the team logo. The video of all possibilities is laid out, each featuring a different name and logo, in a single-elimination, head-to-head bracket competition, where two logos battle each day to advance to the next round. Fan voting determines which logo advances and which one is out. In the end, one name and logo will be crowned the fans’ favorite and will be worn by the players and the organization. Registered voters also become automatically eligible to win prizes that include VIP passes to special events, exclusive merchandise and season tickets. The campaign also has a great ring tying with southern roots, “Your NALL,” as its name.
H2H, which has created some solid digital campaigns for entities like the Pittsburgh Penguins and USA Rugby, does a great deep dive into all of the logo stories, and gives fans more than the usual static experience in helping select a team name. The brackets also have a cool transparency that can take a lot of the perceived bias out of a logo selection, and by being a startup in a niche sport, the team has more leverage to be experimental than an established league would have with rights and marks and infringement on existing themes and color patters.
It is a good differentiator and a fun approach to help get the team some interest in a sport with solid grassroots but lots of cooks on the professional side, both on the indoor and the outdoor side. The team mentions that they are taking “nontraditional” means to expose the brand, and this is the first step. Usually that means there is not a lot of money to through at TV and radio, and many who have gone that only “nontraditional” route have not found success. Mixing traditional and nontraditional yes works. All of the “social media” is still a tough business.
Regardless of the outcome, the name bracket is a good idea, and one that can be a lot of fun for the team, designed by a solid company. It will be interesting to see the traffic generated and the end result for the team and for this new league venture for lacrosse.