- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2023

PHONEIX — Jason Wright has covered a variety of topics when he has met with groups interested in buying the Washington Commanders. As Washington’s team president, the executive says he leads “management presentations” during prospective bidders’ tours of the facility and shares a candid overview of the business. 

But there’s one topic that hasn’t come up in those sessions, Wright said: Another rebrand. 

Wright expressed skepticism that a new owner would look to rebrand the Commanders upon buying the franchise from owner Dan Snyder. The decision isn’t ultimately up to him, but Wright said none of the groups that he has met have mentioned the possibility of changing the team’s name and logo again.

“No, because they’re business folks,” Wright told The Washington Times. “They’re thinking about how we can continue to grow attendance, how we can continue to drive up the value of the business, how we can invest in a championship. It’s about winning, a healthy business and a new venue. Those are the big priorities.”

Washington’s NFL franchise has undergone two name changes since 2020 — when the team announced that it was retiring its Redskins moniker. The team used the temporary “Washington Football Team” for two seasons before switching to the Commanders in February 2022. 

The team announced in November that Snyder hired an investment bank to explore “potential transactions” that included a sale of the team. Since then, at least two billionaires, Josh Harris and Steve Apostopoulos, have each submitted formal $6 billion bids to buy the team.

Several marketing experts told The Washington Times last fall that another rebrand, while costly, would help wipe the slate clean after years of scandal and controversy under Snyder. Brand Federation founding partner Kelly O’Keefe, for instance, said new ownership may decide there’s too much baggage associated with the Commanders brand.

A recent Washington Post survey found that only 15% of Washington-area fans identified the Commanders as their favorite professional sports team — a decline from the 31% in 2010 who had the Redskins ranked No. 1. Of the nearly 800 who identified once as Washington fans, 48% said they were less interested in the team over the past 10 years. 

Among that less-interested group,  56% cited Snyder as the biggest reason why interest declined — while another 14% cited the team’s name changes. 

Wright, though, dismissed the need for another name change. 

“I would focus on the things that can fuel a championship,” Wright said. “I don’t know if that’s one of them.” 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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