What’s in a Name for Rugby?

In more rugby news from across the water, Bristol is to rebrand as the Bristol Bears after their promotion back to the top flight.

There is a strong Irish influence at the club who secured promotion with three games to spare on Friday.

Pat Lam joined from Connacht during the season and John Muldoon will start the next campaign in August on the coaching ticket. Ian Madigan has also been one of the star players of the promotion run.

The change in name was announced via a 19-page brochure and a dramatic video on social media yesterday afternoon, though fans are expressing reservations having not been consulted about the change.

Bristol has a history in this area having renamed as the Bristol Shoguns previously as part of a four-year sponsorship deal with Mitsubishi.

The club is certainly not resting on its laurels after the promotion, with a series of announcements and video content release throughout the day yesterday.

“Since the turn of the professional era, we have seen supporters migrate to more successful, local competitors, homegrown talent move away and Bristol fall behind, both commercially and on the field,” said owner Steve Lansdown announcing the name change.

“I’m tired of hearing about Bristol’s status as a ‘sleeping giant’. Now, we want to see rugby realise its fantastic potential in one of the UK’s most dynamic cities. Our return to the Premiership, coupled with a clear vision of success and world-class facilities at Ashton Gate and the new training ground, signals a fantastic opportunity to reshape our future.”

“In order to achieve success and to meet the demands of this highly competitive environment, we must be bold in our thinking. We must shake up the established status quo. We cannot afford to tread water and wonder ‘what if?’.”

“We must trust the vision and the long-term strategy. In the ten years that I have been involved with the club, we have endured significant challenges on and off the field, including the very real threat of extinction. Those days are a distant memory and – at Ashton Gate – we have a bright future to look forward to.”

“But we need to do much more. The burning ambition is to see 27,000 supporters at Ashton Gate and, to fulfil this desire, we must continue to appeal to new fan bases and broaden our reach. Our aspirations are to reach the very top. We believe the Bristol Bears brand will open up new markets – both domestically and abroad – as we embark on an exciting new era.”

Sport for Business and Ulster Bank will bring the ‘Help for What Matters’ Rugby Club Roadshow to Galway Corinthians on Thursday, April 19th; Young Munster in Limerick on Monday, April 23rd, Cork Con on April 24th and Lansdowne in Dublin on Thursday, April 26th. Admission is free for clubs but registration is required at www.helpforwhatmatters.com

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