Report: Hornets to become Pelicans

Updated: January 24, 2013, 3:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

In New Orleans, the bird may be the word.

The New Orleans Hornets are prepared to announce they are changing their name to the New Orleans Pelicans, effective for the 2013-14 season, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.

Visiting the Hornets' team site sends you first to a large clock counting down to 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, the same time the franchise is set to hold a news conference.

"The Hornets are making a special announcement tomorrow at 3PM!," the site says.

The Hornets have planned to change their name since New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, who also owns the rights to the Pelicans nickname, bought the team in April.

The pelican is Louisiana's state bird and appears on both the state seal and flag. A New Orleans minor league baseball team held the Pelicans nickname in all but nine seasons from 1887-1959, and again in 1977.

The Hornets moved to New Orleans from Charlotte in 2002. When Benson bought the team earlier this year, he said he would like to change the name to something more fitting of Louisiana. His wife, Gayle, reiterated that idea and added that the franchise also would like to change the team colors from teal and purple to red, gold and navy blue. That color scheme is expected to be adopted by the rebranded Pelicans, according to the Yahoo! Sports report.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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