With the rebrand of the Los Angeles Clippers now underway, Los Angeles Magazine has published a look behind the process of moving the team further into the Steve Ballmer era.
And while remaking Los Angeles’ second NBA franchise certainly helps to distance them from their notorious past, Ballmer might have his eyes set on larger goals, as seen in the following excerpt:
So is Ballmer gunning for the Lakers? He won’t say it outright, but the answer seems to be yes. When I ask him about the franchise that owns the hearts and minds of the city’s basketball fans, he is diplomatic, as if speaking of a rival world leader who is gravely ill. “I have a lot of respect for the Lakers,” he says. “I have a lot of respect for Jeanie Buss. We had a lot better year. But one year does not make a statement.” He later adds, “They haven’t had good seasons for a few years, and yet people’s expectations for the Lakers are high, based on a lot of work, much of which was done—you know—15, 20 years ago.” This plays directly into Ballmer’s plan to reposition the Clippers as the fresh, unencumbered, and maverick brand.
In establishing these new Clippers as a fresh brand, the team’s new logo has been the target of heavy criticism, but is also a move to connect the team less to Los Angeles as a destination and more to L.A. as a concept:
To talk to the Clippers’ front office and to the rebranding consultants Ballmer has hired is to get the message that they prefer you not think of the team as being of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a city, while L.A. is a concept that signifies fearlessness, boundless creative energy, food truck entrepreneurs, and the hipster tech halo of Silicon Beach.
“We think it actually coincides with the story of L.A., and that promise of coming here and taking a shot and trying to be successful,” Scott Jensen, RPA’s strategic planning director, explains.
Beyond the rebranding of the team itself, the article also reveals some plans to upgrade the fan experience, including an admission from Clippers’ President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker that a mascot is “on the list” of enhancements.
The full article can be found here.