The soap opera rolls on. The latest semi-villain to enter the fray is 85 year old chairman of FFA (presumably an honorary role) Frank Lowy.
It would appear he has retirement plans as marketing and brand manager for the Wellington Phoenix.
The obvious benchmarks for such a venture are the New Zealand Warriors and Breakers. However, their branding is often criticised, and it is fingernails down the blackboard material when the Australian rugby league commentators refer to “New Zealand” when calling a Warriors game.
Country names are reserved for international teams, not clubs or franchises. There is a perfectly good New Zealand rugby league side knocking around, the top ranked side in the world as it happens, and they are known as the Kiwis.
The New Zealand Breakers play in a combination of Auckland and North Harbour colours
The argument that the Phoenix takes more games around the country is a separate issue, and one that has some merit. The biggest regular season crowds for the Wellington Phoenix have been when they have played in Auckland and pre-quake Christchurch. A New Zealand re-brand would make not one bit of difference. There is support for them around the country in areas where professional football is rare.
And that is the key; as unfortunate as it may be, the one-off event, whether it be sport or concerts, is what gets people along. The Phoenix would not want to overdo the travelling roadshow bit because you do not want to over supply those markets as well as remaining loyal to the base of the club. It is worthwhile remembering that the group who fund this are called Welnix.
Incidentally, the New Zealand moniker has been used previously in the A-League. Dows anyone remember the New Zealand Knights? That probably settles the argument better than anything.