Edmonton CFL team sees sales spike in Eskimos gear after name change decision

Edmonton CFL team sees sales spike in Eskimos gear after name change decision

The CFL team formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos has seen a “very significant” spike in sales of clothing and other items bearing the now-defunct name, says the team’s chief executive.

“It’s, at this point, a collector’s item to many,” said Chris Presson, CEO of the team, which will go by the interim name Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team as it works to decide on a permanent new name.

The organization announced Tuesday that its board of directors decided to drop the word “Eskimo” from the name. The decision came after mounting pressure from sponsors and fans to drop the moniker seen by some critics as an outdated and derogatory term for Inuit, and a similar move from the National Football League’s Washington team to retire its name and logo.

The Edmonton team’s online shop, which sells clothing and novelty items bearing the “Eskimos” name, warned of “a high volume of orders” on Wednesday.

While that warning has been in place for a number of weeks, the team confirmed sales picked up significantly following Tuesday’s name-change announcement.

Buyers are “looking at it as a former iconic Canadian name and iconic Canadian business, and they want what they can get their hands on to remember that by,” said Presson.

The Edmonton team plans to continue to sell the products until its inventory runs out.

The team likely has a “substantial” amount of inventory right now, he said, due to COVID-19 postponing the Canadian Football League’s 2020 season.

It would compound the organization’s fiscal problems to write off all that inventory as a loss, he said.

“We’ve al been hit hard financially by COVID,” he said, adding the team hasn’t played a single game this year and, if the season starts, likely won’t have any home games at all.

“So we have no revenue coming in and we only had expense coming out,” he explained, adding “our intent is to — within reason — continue to sell it, try to move as much of it as we can, so we don’t take a total loss on what we’ve already made a major investment in.”

The team has yet to decide on a new name and that process, including producing merchandise bearing it, will likely “take much closer to a year than several months,” he said.

They hope to retain the green-and-gold colour scheme and double-E logo, he noted, which means the new and old gear should have some similarities.

The team will have to work with its licensees to create new products once it has decided on a name. Typically, licensing agreements require the team to notify partners of a change like this at least a year in advance, said Presson, adding the team is holding a licensing call today to deal with some of these issues.

It will also have to go through the process to trademark and register the new name, which will take some time.

Presson isn’t worried about a possible lack of sales if the team runs out of current inventory before the new memorabilia hits the shelves.

“I think it’s more important that we get what we’re going to do in the future right,” he said, rather than rush to avoid a sales gap.

“I would rather not have anything to sell than put out a product that we’re not pleased with, or a name that we’re not pleased with, or rush something to market where we haven’t done our due diligence” in gathering input from fans and partners.

It’s important both groups stick with the team as it goes through a rebrand during this financial crisis, he said.

The old gear bearing the old name won’t be banned from games when they resume.

“We’re not going to stop what people’s freedoms are and what they want to do and what they can do.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2020.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Three young Sylvan Lake residents are asking for lights to be added to the walking trail system to make them safer and less scary at night. Photo by @workinonmyfitness72
Young Sylvan Lake residents ask for lights to be added to walking trails

Three young Sylvan Lake residents appeared before Council recently to present their ask

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Town of Sylvan Lake recieves funding to help with COVID-19 related revenue losses

Minister Devin Dreeshen says the funding will help the Town pay staff and provide services

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read