Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Name Game

I know that we are all excited to hear what the name of the new Milwaukee Bucks G-League team in Oshkosh is going to be—but expect to be a bit disappointed.  Those of you that worked so hard on alliterative names like the Oshkosh Osprey or the Oshkosh Otters—or those that tried to go Hip Hop Cool with something like the O-Town Flyers—you never had a chance to win.  You see, there is no way the name of this team is going to include “Oshkosh”.

For starters “Oshkosh” conjures up an immediate “small town” reaction.  And compared to the other host cities in the league, we certainly are.  While it may be quaint, that is not how the G-League wants to market itself—as some third rate minor league with teams in towns you never heard of.  What’s more, when fans in other cities hear “Oshkosh” they immediately assume that the team is going to come out in blue and white striped bib overalls.

There is a local reason for foregoing “Oshkosh” in the team name—and that is the incredible parochialism that still exists in this area.  I’ve heard from so many local business owners that “people in Fond du Lac and Appleton don’t drive to Oshkosh for anything”.  And I tend to agree.  When I do ask folks in Appleton or Fondy if there is a place they like to eat in Oshkosh, they almost always say “I don’t think we’ve ever gone there to eat”. 

And that is why the name unveiled on Friday will almost certainly use the more-generic “Fox Valley” and not “Oshkosh”.  Since its inception, the group behind the team has called it “Fox Valley Basketball” because they know there will be more buy in by taking a regional approach—instead of one specific city.  Will it convince people from Appleton and Kimberly and Kaukauna to come to Oshkosh to watch games on a regular basis?  We’ll see.  Hopefully they won’t be irritated by the countless roundabouts and east-west streets that require you to zig-zag at every intersection because of the left-turn lanes.

Or the team may go with the even more generic “Wisconsin” title.  It has certainly worked for the baseball Timber Rattlers—who left the “Appleton” designation behind when they moved to their nice stadium along Interstate 41 with relatively easy access.  You may have noticed that the Bucks themselves have been hitting the “Wisconsin’s Team” promotional message the last couple of years—hoping to convince outstate folks that absolutely refuse to venture into downtown Milwaukee to give them a chance.  They even have a secondary logo with the word “Bucks” across an outline of the state.

So don’t take it personally when the team sends out the emails to those that registered on their website—rather than holding a splashy press conference for the media to cover and promote—and “Oshkosh” is nowhere to be found. 

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