Cleveland Indians’ Rebrand to Guardians Met With Disapproval By One Group in Particular

Overall, 37% of U.S. adults approve of the MLB franchise changing its team name starting in 2022

The new logo of the Cleveland Guardians. The change of the team name has divided fans, often along political lines.
The new logo of the Cleveland Guardians during a press conference.
Jason Miller/Getty

Markets and logo experts are divided about whether Cleveland’s baseball team did a good job rebranding itself and a new Morning Consult poll has found, unsurprisingly, that the general public is also split about the Indians becoming the Guardians starting with the 2022 season.

Per the poll, 37% of U.S. adults approve of the Cleveland Indians’ rebranding to the Guardians while 35% of adults disapprove and 28% don’t have an opinion one way or the other. Breaking it down by age, Gen Z adults and Millennials were more likely to approve of the name change than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. Split down party lines, Democrats were 55% in favor of the change while Republicans, at 60%, were clearly more against the rebrand to the Guardians than any other surveyed group. At 56%, Black adults were more likely than Hispanic adults (44%), white adults (33%) and other racial or ethnic groups (45%) to support the move.

“Differences in public opinion regarding the coming rebrand from Indians to Guardians mirrored many other so-called ‘culture war’ issues that tend to pit an older, more conservative and less diverse coalition against its younger, more liberal and more diverse counterparts,” according to Morning Consult. “While the 2,200 U.S. adults surveyed in the July 23-26 poll were only narrowly divided on the name change itself, about 2 in 3 said they believe that Native American-themed sports team names pay homage to Indigenous people. The remaining third of respondents said naming teams after Native Americans is disrespectful.”

In a related story, the rebrand of Cleveland’s new baseball team may have hit a potential snag thanks to the name of a local roller derby team … the Guardians.

Besides owning the domain on the internet, the roller derby club also owns as @ClevelandGuardians on Instagram and Facebook. Complicating matters, Disney owns @Guardians due to its Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

Per The New York Post, Bryant Street Sports LLC of New York filed for trademarks protections for “Cleveland Guardians” in 2020.

“The Indians objected to the application this month, and the filing was withdrawn on July 21 — which may signify the sides worked something out, or that the baseball team filed its own application,” according to The Post. “That would just leave the URL — with an unknown ownership calendar with the roller derby team having first right of renewal — and social media handles to be worked out.”

Sorting out how Republicans feel about the new name may be a bit more difficult.

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