The Washington Post officially changed the name of its “Redskins Insider” blog, webcast, and twitter handle to “Football Insider” or simply “The Insider” at the behest of none other than Dan Snyder. Why? Because Snyder and the franchise have become increasingly strict about the use of the Redskins brand name. The Washington Post writer Paul Farhi explained the move best, writing:
“The Redskins, who have been at the forefront in creating their own multimedia operations, have been aggressive in policing the use and misuse of their “brand” by others.
For many years, the “Redskins” name was used freely in the titles of local sports highlight shows on TV and radio. No longer. The team put an end to the practice several years ago, now only permitting “authorized” uses of its name — that is, under contractual agreement. Comcast SportsNet is the “official” TV network of the team, for example, and airs a highlight program called “Redskins Nation” hosted by Larry Michael, a broadcaster who is an employee of the team. At the same time, the Redskins produce a half-dozen interview and promotional TV shows through the team-owned Redskins Broadcast Network. The programs air on local stations during the football season.
The Redskins recently asked The Washington Post to rename the newspaper’s video webcast and blog about the team, which was called “Redskins Insider,” according to people who have knowledge of the circumstances. The team had used the name “Redskins Insider” first, and The Post agreed to switch to “Football Insider.””
By setting up contractual licensing agreements with companies wanting to use the team name, Dan Snyder achieves two basic goals. First, he makes money. News organizations and other businesses that want to use the team name will have to pay licensing fees to the franchise for the privilege. For some, attracting the interest and attention of the massive Redskins fan base will be worth the cost. For others, such as The Washington Post, abandoning the team name makes more sense.
In this situation, Snyder benefits in a second way. He can exercise a measure of control over the outlets disseminating information about his business, which is particularly useful when said outlets publish unflattering material. Though there are a plethora of smaller Redskins blogs using the team name without the contractual consent of the franchise, those websites have considerably smaller readerships and, presumably, influence than “The Insider.” The franchise cannot possibly police or hope to extract payment from every blog using Redskins in its title; in essence, Snyder has bigger fish to fry.
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