A second National Football League team is set to begin the process of relocation this week, as a report that the Oakland Raiders would be on their way to Las Vegas was posted to NFL.com.
The Raiders have already trademarked the name Las Vegas Raiders, it’s a no-brainer that the team will retain their iconic logo and colour scheme when the move happens (expected to take place for the 2019 or 2020 season). On Thursday the San Diego Chargers announced they’d be moving to Los Angeles, retaining the name Chargers and (despite that whacky “LA” logo business) are expected to officially retain the lightning bolt as the primary logo. When the Rams moved from St Louis to L.A. last season, same thing, kept the name and kept the logo.
The only team to change their name when relocating in the NFL was when the Cleveland Browns went to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996… and all of us had to pretend that move never actually happened. So… officially? No NFL team has changed it’s name immediately upon moving to a new city. (UPDATE: I forgot the Portsmouth Spartans in *1934*, forgive me, “in the last 83 years” is still just as impressive)
On the opposite side of that coin, only *one* National Hockey League team has kept their name when moving, when the Atlanta Flames went to Calgary and, despite holding a name-the-team contest opted to keep the Flames name. Minnesota went to Dallas and dropped the “North” from their “North Stars” name but despite retaining the logo, uniforms, and colour scheme the name did change.
In baseball it’s happened a few times as the Dodgers, Giants, Athletics, and Braves have all taken their names all across the United States, while in basketball we’ve seen it a few times as well with the Warriors, Kings, Clippers back in the 60s through 80s, and more recently the Grizzlies and Hornets (that’s another “it never happened!” one) here in the 21st Century.
I threw together this graphic charting all the pro sports relocations in the “big four” throughout history, dating back to the Milwaukee Brewers moving to St Louis to become the Browns in 1902 all the way up to the Raiders potential move to Las Vegas in twenty-something.
Click the graphic for the full-size image. If sharing please link to this post, not to this graphic.
If you have any questions or corrections about the teams/logos featured in the graphic, ask away in the comments section down below all those annoying ads.
I didn’t include the Nets move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, I equated that to moving to a new arena within the same market while changing a name (much like the Florida -> Miami Marlins, which I don’t think anybody really considers to be a relocation), and yes I have Baltimore -> Washington with the Bullets, those feel more like two distinct major cities, but I’ll concede they could just as easily be removed from the list based on the NJ->Bklyn rule. Carry on.