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Condoze34

Charlotte, NC Panthers

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Much commentary has been made about Charlotte's name recognition around the rest of the country. As we know, most news accounts from outside the area always list the suffix - NC after Charlotte, almost never, just Charlotte. Like it or not, most cities get their outside recognition from their professional sports franchises. Young boys and men learn about cities around the country by reading the sports pages, not the news or business pages. Our highest profile franchise carries the name Carolina, instead of Charlotte. Many casual football fans may not know what city the Panthers play in or even give it much thought. If their name was the Charlotte Panthers, that would be different. The name would become imbedded around the nation from all the mentions in sports media.

I think the name Carolina was chosen because they wanted to draw support from the surrounding region (states of NC & SC). Plus the city was just emerging as the powerful banking center and was not widely considered a "big league city" at the time. One simple act of calling the team the "Charlotte Panthers" would do more to generate name recognition for the city than anything else. This has probably been discussed somewhere on these boards before in the past. Perhaps some old timers, here at the time of the expansion, could elaborate on the reasons for the selection of the "Carolina" name. Also, has it ever been considered on any serious level to change the name to "Charlotte"?

It's of note to mention that the Cardinals went the other way, dropping Phoenix and going with Arizona instead.

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At the time Jerry Richardson was pursuing a franchise, it wasn't clear the proposed stadium would be uptown. There was even a faction that wanted the stadium's 50 yard line to be the NC/SC state line, a la Carowinds. Jerry was a big Hardee's and Denny's guy, and his company was headquartered in Spartanburg, SC. The team's logo is even an approximation of the shape of NC and SC on a map. Part of the pitch to the other NFL owners was the potential fan draw from both Carolinas.

In an effort to make South Carolinians identify with the team, the training camp is held each year down I-85 in SC, and the first year of the Panthers' existance, they played all of their home games at Clemson.

All of that said, I agree and wish the team would use "Charlotte" rather than "Carolina". After all, Charlotte did pony up the money to build the infrastructure (including re-routing the road). Seems like this amounted to something north of $30 million (in 1995 dollars). The next time the Panthers adopt a new look uniform, it would be a great time to change the name to the Charlotte Panthers. I don't believe any South Carolinians would change their allegiance. Look at all the Pittsburgh fans in Charlotte and Tampa this weekend. The word "Pittsburgh" doesn't turn off fans of the terrible towel.

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All of that said, I agree and wish the team would use "Charlotte" rather than "Carolina". After all, Charlotte did pony up the money to build the infrastructure (including re-routing the road). Seems like this amounted to something north of $30 million (in 1995 dollars). The next time the Panthers adopt a new look uniform, it would be a great time to change the name to the Charlotte Panthers. I don't believe any South Carolinians would change their allegiance. Look at all the Pittsburgh fans in Charlotte and Tampa this weekend. The word "Pittsburgh" doesn't turn off fans of the terrible towel.

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I was talking to a friend last week who lives in Arizona about the Cardinals over the fact they are in the Superbowl. When I mentioned they had dashed the hopes of the Panthers earlier, he was surprised to learn this team was in Charlotte. He had always assumed the Carolina Panthers played in Raleigh. After-all the Carolina Tar Heels are there. Now keep in mind he lives 2000 miles from here and has never been to the Carolinas.

The reason, as noted above, that it is Carolina is because of the help that SC provided in getting the NFL to put a team here. When it was being considered, there was widespread belief that Charlotte wasn't big enough to support a NFL team. Also it probably didn't hurt that the owner made is fortune in SC and was living in Spartanburg when these events were going on.

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I am going to go the other way on this. I really like that it's the Carolina Panthers and not the Charlotte Panthers. I have lived up and down SC from Charleston to Columbia to Rock Hill and elsewhere, and I really think you would lose a lot of fans that would view the name change as almost elitist. Plus, I view NC/SC more as a region than two states. We aren't quite the Mid-Atlantic, not quite the Deep South - we're the Carolinas. So I think our football team should represent that and keep the Carolina moniker over Charlotte. Oh, and winning playoff games goes a long way in letting people know the Panthers play in Charlotte. Had we beaten Arizona, we would have had the NFC Championship the following week at BoA stadium; something that hasn't happened before.

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I work with a lot of Bostonians and travel there quite a bit. I don't hear any complaints that their prized football team is called the New England Patriots.

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Even though I think a name change to the "Charlotte" Panthers would be pretty cool and would help the city become more recognizable, I still vote for keeping Carolina. There are lots of people down east that don't like Charlotte and I feel that their "dedication" to the team would dissolve. I'm not sure how South Carolinians would react, but I can't believe they would be happy. I would love to be able to just say "Charlotte" and everyone know what I was referring to, but I'd rather have the city be known for something other than a sports team.

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I agree that renaming the team to the "Charlotte Panthers" would be a bad move. The "Carolina" name certainly suggests more unity amongst NC and SC. If that change did happen, I would imagine it would take about 2.5 seconds before the Carolina Hurricanes became the "Raleigh Hurricanes"... I also think the Bobcats could probably market themselves better in the Carolinas if they were the Carolina Bobcats. Though, that name does have a weird ring to it...

Also, as far as someone from AZ being surprised that the Panthers being located in Charlotte and not Raleigh, that goes to show the person isn't an educated football fan. Any football fan knows that the Panthers are located in Charlotte just like the Titans are in Nashville and the Cards are in Phoenix (technically Glendale).

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Just to put things in perspective - other non-city pro sports names:

New Jersey Nets (actually I don't know, so you might have me there)

Minnesota Timberwolves & Vikings & Twins (Minneapolis)

Indiana Pacers (Indianapolis)

Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City)

Arizona Cardinals & Diamondbacks (Phoenix)

New England Patriots (kind of Boston)

Tennessee Titans (Nashville)

Texas Rangers (Dallas)

Florida Marlins (Miami)

Colorado Rockies (Denver)

My point in listing all those teams - is that by naming the NFL team in Charlotte as Carolina - it is not at all dismissing Charlotte's significance. There are larger & more prominent cities than Charlotte that have sports franchises named after the home state. In some cases (like CO, AZ, UT, MN, IN) they are named after their state because their is only one significant city in that state. Another reason could be that the team is situated in a central location that represents that entire state or region (I'm thinking Tennessee Titans). Possibly the third reason is simple egotism, the city views itself representative of the entire state despite other large cities - Miami home to the FL Marlins & Dallas home to the Texas Rangers. Of course when those cities won their franchises I believe they were the first in their state to get a pro team - but really, did Dallas really think Houston would never get a baseball team?

So - if those that think the Carolina Panthers should be named Charlotte, why not take the egotistical approach & assume the team is named Carolina because no other city in NC & SC matters? Whatever makes you feel better - otherwise I would bet there would be less support for the Panthers in NC & SC if it was just Charlotte. Not a significant drop (since it helps that the Panthers are a good team), but considering prior to the Panthers people in NC & SC were either Dolphins, Redskins or sometimes Falcons fans.

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Legend has it that when the Hurricanes made the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, the mayor of Detroit called McCrory to place a friendly bet.

McCrory redirected the call to Raleigh. :)

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So what y'all are really suggesting here is that we change the name of our team because Americans are too stupid to learn geography?

If you follow the NFL, you know where the other teams are located, at least to the Metro area. If you're a casual fan, then I'm not concerned about it. I think notion of changing the name because of the ignorance of the masses is just appalling. The problem with people not associating the Panthers with Charlotte is just another symptom of Charlotte not having a strong national identity.

If the Hurricanes changed their name to the Raleigh Hurricanes it would have even less relevance to me then it already does- but mostly because its hockey. I don't know anybody in SC that goes to Raleigh to watch hockey games (not to say that none exist). IMO if its a pro team with "Carolina" on it, then it should be in Charlotte.

Charlotte is the largest city in the Carolinas, and it is more or less the geographic heart of both places. Its really the only urban area that operates in both states. The media all refer to this area as the "Carolinas" (even though they have 95% NC news). Carolina is by far the most appropriate label for this team.

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^I think that Americans can be forgiven for not knowing the Carolina Panthers means Charlotte. It isn't a reflection on the knowledge of geography nor should it be. I an also tell you that if you live in the Triangle or anywhere in Eastern NC, "Carolina" immediately means UNC - Chapel Hill sports, not the NFL in Charlotte. UNC is the oldest public university in the USA so I would say it has a better known reputation at the national level than the 20 year old Panthers.

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