Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
February 6, 2014: The New Orleans Pelicans may be last in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, seven games out of the playoffs, but at least they are among the NBA leaders in name changes.
From 1988-2002, the franchise played in Charlotte as the Hornets. After relocating, the team from 2002-05 was known the New Orleans Hornets. Then from 2005-07 they were the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets before reverting back to the New Orleans Hornets from 2007-13.
Beginning this season the team was renamed New Orleans Pelicans.
One constant was the team's home venue. During their entire time in New Orleans, the franchise has played in the New Orleans Arena.
But that, too, has changed.df
A new ten-year naming rights deal among Pelicans owner Tom Benson, the State of Louisiana (which owns the venue, as well as the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome next door) and Smoothie King owner and CEO Wan Kim unveiled a multi-year deal for naming rights to the venue.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Signage is already in place for Smoothie King Center, which will be the site of the NBA All-Star Game and related events the weekend of Feb. 14-16.
“Smoothie King and the NBA are a perfect fit,” Kim said in a statement about his company, which was founded in New Orleans in 1973. “Both organizations are global brands that continue to grow in status and stature. Smoothie King supports the NBA and the New Orleans Pelicans franchise, and we think this partnership reflects our joint interests in nutrition, health and athletics from an international to a local perspective.”
A new Smoothie King Center logo is one the roof of the building and the new Smoothie King Center name and logo will appear on the facility’s exterior façade, on the Pelicans home basketball court, the team’s scoreboard and in numerous locations throughout the facility.
The Smoothie King Center will also feature visuals that "reinforce the brand’s new purpose-driven positioning. Fans will see messages encouraging them to 'Feel Taller' and 'Get More Jump in Your Game' with Smoothie King’s Energy and Fitness Blends."
The team and Smoothie King will add marketing support in-arena, via Internet and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, fans attending Smoothie King Center will see a 20-foot high Smoothie King cup at the building’s main entrance across from the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome. A new Smoothie King retail outlet will open in Smoothie King Center.
“Both organizations are global brands that continue to grow in status and stature. Smoothie King supports the NBA and the New Orleans Pelicans franchise."
“When we purchased the franchise and became the Pelicans, we were establishing a new winning tradition for our hometown NBA team," said Benson. "Introducing our home court as the Smoothie King Center is one of the goals we set when we purchased the team and we’re excited to partner with a locally-incepted company in Smoothie King.
"They are an international brand with more than 600 locations in the United States and Asia and they have experienced that growth while remaining local," said Benson. "The NBA, Smoothie King, and the Pelicans are committed to excellence on and off the court.”
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