Hornets' logo unveiled in Charlotte

Updated: December 22, 2013, 1:42 AM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Look out: The new Charlotte Hornets logo is more likely to sting you.

Gone are the big wings, the beady eyes, the puffy hands and shoes. In comes a more shapely hornet with focused eyes and a long, sharp stinger.

The logo, which team officials say was a collaboration with the NBA and officials with Nike's Jordan brand, was unveiled on Saturday night by Bobcats owner Michael Jordan at halftime of the team's game against the Utah Jazz.

[+] EnlargeCharlotte Hornets logo
Courtesy of the Charlotte BobcatsMerchandise featuring Charlotte's new Hornets logo will debut on Jan. 18.

"You guys asked and we delivered," said Jordan, who also introduced the Hornets' word mark, as well as eight alternatives.

"Tonight is a special night."

The Bobcats officially become the Hornets the day after their final game this season.

"When we were doing our research, we looked closely into a hornet's DNA," team president and chief operating officer Fred Whitfield said. "We came back with swarming, attacking and protective."

The costs to change from the Bobcats to the Hornets have been tabbed at around $4 million, with 250 major points throughout the arena that need to be rebranded, according to team executive vice president and chief marketing officer Pete Guelli.

While the Bobcats, who have been in the bottom quartile of merchandise sales throughout their history, are expected to make a huge leap, a large percentage of the royalties -- everything outside of team owned and arena sales -- will be split equally among the league's teams.

But Guelli said the name change already has paid major dividends, citing the team's 90 percent season ticket renewal rate coming off a 21-win season last season, with the equivalent of another 2,000 season tickets sold in the offseason. Guelli also said he attributes the name change to scoring two new national sponsors, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald's.

Merchandise with the new logo on it will debut on Jan. 18, while the uniforms will be unveiled in the summer. Team officials also say they will bring back their old mascot "Hugo," which will get an update but will likely look a bit more kid-friendly.

"The players were beloved as was the mascot," Whitfield said. "So we're all thrilled to bring Hugo back."

When the New Orleans Hornets announced last year that they'd ditch the nickname for the Pelicans, initial polls taken by the team, in the city, indicated that at least 80 percent of fans wanted the name back.

In July, the NBA Board of Governors approved changing the team name back to the Hornets for the 2014-15 season, with two provisions: The team had to change its logo in some way that would make it different from the past, and it was responsible for liquidating product with the old Bobcats name. The team didn't have to pay the league to get back the Hornets name, but Whitfield said that the team did make a donation to the New Orleans Pelicans charities as a notion of their gratitude for willing to give up the name.

Saturday night's unveiling in Charlotte featured Muggsy Bogues, Rex Chapman, Dell Curry and Kelly Tripucka, all former players for the Hornets in Charlotte, as well as a video display with the new logo.

On the video presentation at halftime, the voiceover began by saying, "What once was lost has been willed by you to be found. The legend is our new legacy. Get ready for the buzz to return. Our city. Our colors. Our name. We're all coming home."

No matter what it is called, Charlotte could use some success on the court. In their first nine seasons, the Bobcats only have made the playoffs once and have been in the bottom third of league attendance. Since becoming majority owner in March 2010, Michael Jordan's record is 85-188.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.