With a new owner comes inevitable changes, and new Carolina RailHawks owner Steve Malik is looking at several changes to the NASL franchise, including a potential rebranding, addition of a women’s team or move to a new downtown Raleigh stadium.
For Malik, it’s all about leaving options open while looking at expansion. Soon after buying the team he also acquired the “Carolina Flight” trademark as well as other Internet domain names, leading to some speculation about a potential rebranding. Turns out that a rebranding could be in the works, but it fits into a broader game plan that include increasing inventory with women’s soccer, lacrosse or rugby. From the News & Observer:
“(We’re) contemplating a women’s (soccer) team, we’re also going to look at several other sports, maybe rugby or lacrosse, there’s a number of professional leagues starting up that might be of interest,” Malik said. “There’s a number of possibilities. I also bought a lot of other domain names.”
The comments about possibly revamping the RailHawks name come shortly after Malik told The News & Observer he is open to the RailHawks moving to downtown Raleigh, if a sports center is built. A 10-year vision plan for downtown Raleigh calls for an entertainment and sports complex, though the concept is very preliminary and the city doesn’t own the land where it could be located….
“I’ve talked to other owners in (the North American Soccer League), and those owners that have stadiums that have additional sports franchises have a lot easier time selling sponsorships,” Malik said. “We have dates, and that provides a great opportunity for sponsors to target internationals – particularly the Latino market, suburban soccer moms and millennials. If we have 15 to 20 more dates with significant enough attendance, that gives a much broader appeal to sponsors.”
The RailHawks drew 4,539 per game at WakeMed Soccer Park last season, good for eighth in the NASL.
Images courtesy Carolina RailHawks.
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