The New York Times is reporting that the Cleveland Indians, in cooperation with Major League Baseball, are abandoning the Chief Wahoo logo after the 2018 season. According to The Times, the Indians are only moving away from the Chief Wahoo logo, not the franchise name, which has also drawn negative attention over the years.
The de-Chiefing isn’t just the uniform, either — the logo is being removed from every aspect of the Indians’ home games.
[...] team’s uniforms, or on banners and signs in Progressive Field, the team’s stadium. Consumers will still be able to purchase items with the logo on them at the team’s souvenir shops in the stadium and at retail outlets in the northern Ohio market, but those will not be available for sale on M.LB.’s website.
It’s interesting, but not surprising, that the Chief Wahoo merchandise will still be sold in local markets. According to Jordan Bastian, this is in part because the Indians still maintain a trademark for the logo and are required to keep it in retail spaces to do so.
The Indians will maintain control of the Chief Wahoo trademark. In order to do so, it will still have a limited retail presence. No retail presence would open door for another party to seize control of the mark and profit from it.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) January 29, 2018
Not only will they keep the trademark, but the flood of people who support a logo over their favorite baseball team will likely flock to buy up whatever they can. Make no mistake about it, the Indians are going to keep profiting off the logo for a long, long time.
And it’s certainly no coincidence that 2019, the first year without the Chief Wahoo logo, is also the year that the Indians will be hosting the All-Star game. It’s understandable that the MLB might not want such a controversial logo plastered all over the marketing for its All-Star game.
The full press release from the Indians and MLB can be seen below, courtesy of Bastian.
Major League Baseball released the following statement about the pending removal of the Chief Wahoo mark from Cleveland's on-field uniforms. Comments from Commissioner Manfred and Indians owner Paul Dolan... pic.twitter.com/tN4Yr8jpIo— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) January 29, 2018
The New York Times piece didn’t mention an exact design for the Wahoo-less Indians uniforms, but the team has stopped using the logo during special uniform days already, such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and the Fourth of July where the Block C takes Wahoos place with the appropriate designs.