Why Keeping 'Redskins' Is Awful Business Strategy

2 marketing professors look beyond the morality to make their case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2014 1:26 PM CDT
Why Keeping 'Redskins' Is Awful Business Strategy
Washington Redskins helmets sit on the field during minicamp in Ashburn, Va.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is still adamant about keeping the team name, despite the loss of its trademark status and a growing chorus of critics who say it's offensive to Native Americans. But two marketing professors at Emory University say Snyder is making a boneheaded business decision. Forget the morality of it, this is "managerial malpractice," argue Michael Lewis and Manish Tripathi in the New York Times. They crunched marketing numbers for college programs that have ditched similar names and found that nothing much changed in the first year, but that the teams saw increasing revenue after that.

From this, they conclude that opponents of such moves are a vocal minority, and their threats of boycotts just so much hot air. The professors also found that the two NFL teams with the most "negative brand equity" over the past decade are the Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs, another team with an American Indian theme. This is "elementary" marketing stuff, they write. Too many people hate the name, even in Washington. Snyder should reach out to American Indian groups, find an alternative that honors instead of offends, and reap the benefits. "In this case, doing the morally right thing is also the correct business decision," they write. Click for the full column. (More Washington Redskins stories.)

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