School of Communication and the Arts


Master of Arts in Strategic Communication (MA)


Marie Mallory


Sports Team Name Changes, Native American Sports Names, Sports Logos and Names, Sport Team Names, Native American Perspectives, Team Name Changes, Native Americans Sport Team Names, Sports, Native Americans, The Washington Football Team, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Redskins, Football, Baseball, Hockey


Communication | Sports Studies


For years, there have been controversy and discussion regarding high school, college, and professional sports team name changes. Professional sports teams have gained the most attention regarding team name changes or lack thereof. This study can bring an understanding of the message communicated through the chosen names and logos of sports teams as well as the effects of financial, political, and fan base changes on team name changes in the sports industry. Extensive research is provided to show the previous content on the topic as well as areas where further research would be beneficial. This includes previous and current sport name changes, name history, political, media, and financial influence, Native American involvement, relatable communication theories, and reactions. Based on the gathered research, there was still a need for specified studies regarding the overall influences of these name changes and what the names and teams communicate. This study brings clarity to this issue by evaluating the Washington Redskins (Washington Football Team), Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Kansas City Chiefs. The structured qualitative method used was implemented to gain data from sports professionals or players, sports fans, and the impacted party (Native Americans) of these teams. This data contributes to an area of sports communication that has previously been overlooked and provides teams with an idea of how to communicate future name changes to their fans and the public.