The Washington Football Team name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it could be the Washington NFL team’s name into 2021 or potentially even longer.
October and November comments from WFT president Jason Wright to ESPN suggested that there might not be as quick an update to the name as expected after the team dropped the “Redskins” moniker earlier in 2020. Wright said there’s a “pretty good chance” that Washington Football Team will still be the name in 2021, and added in later comments that it could remain the name long-term.
Here’s what we know about trademarks and naming rights that could impact when the Washington Football Team decides on a long-term name.
MORE: A timeline of the Redskins name change
When will the Washington Football Team get a new name?
The most recent comments on this matter came from Washington team president Jason Wright when speaking with ABC7 WJLA’s Scott Abraham. Wright suggested that Washington Football Team may still be the club’s name in 2021.
“I think next year is fast because of how the brand has to come together through uniforms, through approval processes through the league,” Wright said in October. “Next year is fast. There is a pretty good chance we will still be the Washington Football Team next season. We could get there quicker, it’s actually pretty hard to get there that quickly because of all the steps that need to happen.”
Wright added that everyone needs to “take a deep breath” and recognize that the change isn’t “coming tomorrow.”
In a separate interview with ESPN in November, Wright said that Washington Football Team (along with Washington Football Club) is also in the running to be the team’s long-term name, along with Red Wolves and Red Tails.
The main logistical hurdle for the Washington Football Team to find its next name is trademarking. The organization would have to lock up its preferred name ahead of 2021 to go ahead with the changes, but people filed trademarks for more than 30 potential names in anticipation that this name would come. Anyone with a trademark on a new name would likely take Washington to court in an attempt to receive money for naming rights if their name is chosen. A Virginia man named Martin McCaulay owns the bulk of the trademarks.
After trademark issues are settled, Washington can then focus on designing a new logo and choosing a new color scheme and uniform design. Because companies like to do internal testing on products, that’s a time-heavy process, too.
Wright’s comments in October could point to, in part, issues with working through trademark worries. There’s also the simple matter of some group of people choosing the desired name in the first place, which then can get the ball rolling toward addressing trademark issues.
MORE: The 5 best options for Washington’s new name
Why did the Redskins become the Washington Football Team?
The team changed its name over the summer in 2020 when the ongoing outcry over the name being considered a racial slur became financially damaging to Washington’s owner, Dan Snyder. FedEx, which holds the naming rights for Washington’s stadium, formally asked Snyder to pull away from the name “Redskins.” Some investors followed suit.
Washington Football Team name change options
There was a trademark fight ongoing involving the Washington Redwolves name in July which caught people’s attention and had it considered the early favorite for the new name.
At that time, this is how the Vegas betting odds on the new name broke down, courtesy of Sports Insider:
- Redwolves +150
- Redtails +300
- Warriors +500
- Generals +600
- Presidents +750
- Lincolns +1000
- Monuments +1000
- Memorials +1200
- Redhawks +1200
- Kings +1400
- Americans +1600
- Veterans +1800
- Skins +2000
- Roosevelts +2200
- Jeffersons +2500
When Washington’s team president Jason Wright spoke with ESPN in November, he said that Red Wolves and Red Tails were both in the running to be new names, along with the potential of keeping the Washington Football Team name.