Edmonton CFL team sees sales spike in Eskimos gear after name change decision

Edmonton CFL team sees sales spike in Eskimos gear after name change decision

Edmonton CFL team sees sales spike in Eskimos gear after name change decision

The CFL team formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos has seen a “very significant” spike in sales of clothing and other items bearing the now-defunct name, says the team’s chief executive.

“It’s, at this point, a collector’s item to many,” said Chris Presson, CEO of the team, which will go by the interim name Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team as it works to decide on a permanent new name.

The organization announced Tuesday that its board of directors decided to drop the word “Eskimo” from the name. The decision came after mounting pressure from sponsors and fans to drop the moniker seen by some critics as an outdated and derogatory term for Inuit, and a similar move from the National Football League’s Washington team to retire its name and logo.

The Edmonton team’s online shop, which sells clothing and novelty items bearing the “Eskimos” name, warned of “a high volume of orders” on Wednesday.

While that warning has been in place for a number of weeks, the team confirmed sales picked up significantly following Tuesday’s name-change announcement.

Buyers are “looking at it as a former iconic Canadian name and iconic Canadian business, and they want what they can get their hands on to remember that by,” said Presson.

The Edmonton team plans to continue to sell the products until its inventory runs out.

The team likely has a “substantial” amount of inventory right now, he said, due to COVID-19 postponing the Canadian Football League’s 2020 season.

It would compound the organization’s fiscal problems to write off all that inventory as a loss, he said.

“We’ve al been hit hard financially by COVID,” he said, adding the team hasn’t played a single game this year and, if the season starts, likely won’t have any home games at all.

“So we have no revenue coming in and we only had expense coming out,” he explained, adding “our intent is to — within reason — continue to sell it, try to move as much of it as we can, so we don’t take a total loss on what we’ve already made a major investment in.”

The team has yet to decide on a new name and that process, including producing merchandise bearing it, will likely “take much closer to a year than several months,” he said.

They hope to retain the green-and-gold colour scheme and double-E logo, he noted, which means the new and old gear should have some similarities.

The team will have to work with its licensees to create new products once it has decided on a name. Typically, licensing agreements require the team to notify partners of a change like this at least a year in advance, said Presson, adding the team is holding a licensing call today to deal with some of these issues.

It will also have to go through the process to trademark and register the new name, which will take some time.

Presson isn’t worried about a possible lack of sales if the team runs out of current inventory before the new memorabilia hits the shelves.

“I think it’s more important that we get what we’re going to do in the future right,” he said, rather than rush to avoid a sales gap.

“I would rather not have anything to sell than put out a product that we’re not pleased with, or a name that we’re not pleased with, or rush something to market where we haven’t done our due diligence” in gathering input from fans and partners.

It’s important both groups stick with the team as it goes through a rebrand during this financial crisis, he said.

The old gear bearing the old name won’t be banned from games when they resume.

“We’re not going to stop what people’s freedoms are and what they want to do and what they can do.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2020.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The Canadian Press has learned that Katie Telford has written members of the defence committee inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Canada's former top military commander, offering to testify at their meeting Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Family looking for answers: Woman with vaccine side-effects died of blood clot

Family looking for answers: Woman with vaccine side-effects died of blood clot

‘Uniquely reprehensible’: No parole for 35 years for Calgary man in triple murder

‘Uniquely reprehensible’: No parole for 35 years for Calgary man in triple murder

A sign is seen at a walk-in COVID-19 in Montreal on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

People in Peel region line up outside the University of Toronto Mississauga campus for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday, May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Promising pandemic signs in Ontario, Quebec as urgency shifts to N.S., Alberta

Promising pandemic signs in Ontario, Quebec as urgency shifts to N.S., Alberta

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves upon departure from Boryspil International airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 6, 2021. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with top Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and reaffirmed Washington's support for the country in the wake of heightened tensions with Russia. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, Pool)
US says fate of nuclear pact up to Iran as talks resume

US says fate of nuclear pact up to Iran as talks resume

People embrace after a school shooting at Rigby Middle School in Rigby, Idaho on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Authorities say a shooting at the eastern Idaho middle school has injured two students and a custodian, and a male student has been taken into custody. (John Roark /The Idaho Post-Register via AP)
Sheriff: Girl shoots 3 at Idaho school; teacher disarms her

Sheriff: Girl shoots 3 at Idaho school; teacher disarms her

Most Read