Not As Ludicrous As Real Salt Lake, But Not Ideal

Go on, kick that ball, it's soccer, you kick itThe word out of MLS HQ (and by “word” I mean “the rumors trotted out on the Internet”) is that MLS has picked out a name for the Toronto franchise. In the completely inauthentic and nonsensical tradition of DC United, Real Salt Lake, and Dynamo Houston, they’ve decided to once again go faux-European-superclub and call the team “Inter Toronto.”

While the “Inter” part isn’t terrible per se (in the case of the original Inter, it’s short for “Internazionale,” which works for the first MLS team outside U.S. borders), it’s horribly lame to keep poaching elements of well-known European soccer brands in an attempt to “sound more like soccer teams.” As a marketing gambit, it’s actually pretty short-sighted, because it intrisically undermines the overall authenticity of the league. It just doesn’t make sense to call a team in Salt Lake City “Real” since there’s no king there, and very little is royal about the state of Utah. We’ll cut the Houston thing some slack (though I don’t know that there are a lot of Russian folks in central Texas), since they actually tried something a little cooler at first before being shouted down by enraged locals (for reasons I’m still not sure I understand, especially when we have teams called “Redskins” being worth $1 billion here in United States of Freedom).

To go down this path again with Toronto is beginning to border on insulting — especially as more and more European footy is making it onto U.S. TV. Casual fans are going to become more and more familiar with the European teams, and the already tenuous connections between those clubs and their North American knockoffs will make even less sense. Don Garber, I thought we were building for the long term! Give them American names! Be proud of being an American soccer league — do it our way! Look at how the Mexican League rolls: they have some teams with distinctly non-European names and brands, and it sure works for them. More importantly, it embraces our sports culture instead of pilfering and repurposing the European one(s).

Links:
New Toronto Team Will Be Inter Toronto FC [sportslogos.net]

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