County news March 6, 2013

Yorkshire defend 'Vikings' rebranding

Yorkshire have defended renaming their limited-overs side "Yorkshire Vikings", insisting the name reflects the history of the region and will help the club appeal to a new, young audience.

While immediate associations with the Vikings might not be positive - Yorkshire are understandably keen not to be seen to endorse pillaging or plundering - the club feel the name will provide a useful marketing hook and should have no negative connotations. As part of the rebranding the club have agreed a partnership with the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, which will offer "match-day experiences" to younger supporters in a bid to attract new followers to the club.

"We wanted a name that was relevant to the community," Danny Reuben, Head of Media & Marketing at Yorkshire, told ESPNcricinfo. "And, as the Vikings settled here 1,300 years ago and shaped the look and the language of the region, they have had a huge impact. One of their legacies was establishing the three Ridings of Yorkshire and the words 'York' and 'Yorkshire'.

"We are also entering into a partnership with the Jorvik Centre in York, which is the home of Viking history in this part of the world, and they will provide match-day experiences which will hope will capture the imagination of younger supporters.

"We did have an online poll to pick a new name but we had to ignore the results as it was high-jacked by Lancashire supporters. Had it been up to them, we would have been called the Yorkshire Puddings."

Yorkshire's commercial director, Andy Dawson, said: "With the Vikings brand, we now have a name that is marketable and gives us a hook to promote the club to a wider audience. Our creativity in developing a new look and feel for the team will enable us to implement new revenue streams and attract a younger audience.

"Cricket cannot be viewed simply as a sport. It is a form of entertainment that in modern times operates in a highly competitive environment vying for consumers' leisure time. We hope that people and in particular children will identify with the Yorkshire Vikings and embrace the activity we have planned at Headingley this season."

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions at the Jorvik Group, agreed that the Vikings' negative reputation was largely unfair. "The Vikings did many things," Maltby told ESPNcricinfo. "They did invade, but then they settled, they created towns and cities, they manufactured and they traded across the world. The fierce stereotype people have of them is only one side of the story. They were much more than that."

As well as having a bat and ball game that some have compared to cricket, the Vikings also invented the words "ball", "run", "leg", "loft", "hit", "cake" and even "sledge".

Yorkshire, who had been branded as Yorkshire Carnegie in limited-overs cricket until the end of their sponsorship deal with Leeds Metropolitan University, will play under the Vikings name for the first time on their pre-season tour of Barbados, which commences on March 16 against Hampshire Royals.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on March 7, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    "and will help the club appeal to a new, young audience."

    Is there any evidence whatsoever that these made-up names, or "brandings" as the corporate types would probably call them, make any difference to the support of a county team, young or otherwise?

  • Mark on March 7, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Yorkshire Vikings? Does anyone associate the Vikings with Yorkshire? Fravkly I liked Fred Boycott's "Yorkshire Diggers" much more!

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    Just another silly name to go alongside the Derbyshire Scorpions, the Yorkshire Phoenix, the Durham Dynamos, the Somerset Sabres etc!! At least with the Warwickshire Bears, The Notts Outlaws and the Leicestershire Foxes, the names actually mean something, as they are either the county emblems, or in Notts case, strongly linked with the county through Robin Hood. What ever will we have next....the Worcestershire Pears.

  • Simon on March 6, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Nothing wrong with Yorks using the title Vikings, especially considering its use by others who have no links with Viking history. Yorkshire was once an independant Viking state, that once brought the celts of Cornwall / Wales / Scotland / Ireland together plus probably some Vikings of the 5 boroughs of the east midlands in an attempt to throw the Anglo Saxons into the sea. It failed in a millenium defining battle in an unknown field probably in Yorkshire, at the hands of King Athelstan of Wessex, whose army was composed of the men of Somerset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Surrey and the men of Mercia. And so the kingdom of York fell, the celts marched back to their rugged outposts forever and England's violent birth continued. I'm sure you'll agree, the result of the county championship will be much the same.

  • Mark on March 6, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    So teams called Outlaws, Gladiators, Crusaders and Spitfires are Ok but Vikings is not? Get real. It's a name, its better than Phoenix or Carnegie and it fits in with the whole T20 image. If it means we can get a Scandinavian top order batsman on an EU passport to cover for Root and Bairstows absences then all the more to applaud it!

  • Andrew on March 6, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    An improvement but for me the name Vikings always brings up memories of the Central Vikings, which was a joint effort by two NZ rugby unions (Hawke's Bay and Manawatu, who are not geographcal neighbours which didn't help) who combined to enter a single team in the national championship in (I think) 1998. It was a complete disaster both on and off the field and only lasted one season before they went back to fielding separate teams. But Yorkshire won't have that problem I'm sure. Good luck to them.

    And yes it's much better than Yorkshire Carnegie - what was that about? Was it because of the famous generosity of Yorkshire people? Doesn't seem likely...

  • Luke on March 6, 2013, 16:57 GMT

    Whatever they go for, it will be an improvement on their name for last season. Can't imagine too man Yorkshire fans were heard singing 'come on you Carnegie' or saying 'I'm off to Headingley Carnegie to watch Yorkshire Carnegie play'. Put simply, I won't miss having the Carnegie name rammed down my throat in relation to virtually any sporting team or venue associated with Leeds or Yorkshire. I didn't even know what the organisation was till the other day but perhaps I am not their target market! I am not a Yorkshire fan by the way...

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    seriously i thought whats in a name!

  • Adam on March 6, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    They should have stuck with the Puddings option! Still better than the Middlesex one/s.

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