So there's a new name - why? Find out on Brian's blog here.
So most of you came to read because you saw our new post on social media, or you're a regular visitor to the site. Either way, you probably noticed the domain change and the team name change. This is what we've been up to for the last month - an unfortunate series of events that happened to force us to change our name from Panthers to Jaguars.
What happened, you say?
Well, when we picked the team name, we did research on Fort Worth - a LOT of research. I won't go into the retelling of the story, because I already blogged about it at the start. We checked Google, we checked with the state of Texas, and we thought we had done our homework. We even copyrighted the logo. We didn't trademark it because it was pretty expensive to do and as a startup, we were keeping costs down.
We still should have checked.
It turns out that back in February, the National Lacrosse League trademarked "Fort Worth Panthers" for the new professional lacrosse franchise that was just awarded to Fort Worth. No news about it at the time, and it had just been published in July. However, had I checked with the US Patent and Trademark office, I would have seen that it was taken and we would have gone a different way.
So, after consulting with the league, my fellow owners, and a couple of attorneys, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor. There was no good reason to fight to keep Panthers, not when the odds of succeeding were low. (The lacrosse team has since announced that they are "Panther City Lacrosse".) We love our big blue cat, and we love the team's look and feel. Because Panthers was taken, we spent the last month determining what we were going to change to. Ultimately, we settled on "Jaguars".
I'm not thrilled, but I'm accepting. When you start a business you do everything you can do to check everything within reason. After dozens of Google searches I had found nothing that indicated that Panthers would be a problem. However, the one search I didn't do came back to bite me in the butt - maybe I should have "watched my back" a little better!
Still, it's not a problem. I'm still thrilled to be in the league, still thrilled with the look and feel of the team, and the guys at The Next Step turned the rebrand around quickly. It'll take a couple of days for the league's info to catch up, but until then we'll get through it with messaging. There's still a lot of excitement about the players and coaches we'll be signing over the next two or three months in preparation for the NAFL inaugural season!
There are a couple of practical aspects with regards to swag. I'll be sending an email to all the folks that purchased Panthers t-shirts and offering a free replacement for the Jaguars shirt that I will have up soon. The remaining Panthers shirts will go for $11 in case anyone still wants one. I was able to stop the masks and hats from being produced with Panthers, so that's a BIG silver lining not to have a ton of mis-branded swag.
The store will get updated over the next few days and we'll be back for Christmas shopping! Make sure to update your links to the following addresses: