Washington’s NFL team, which bears an increasingly controversial moniker, has found itself a new friend—with deep pockets.
Huawei Enterprise USA, the American division of Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications and network equipment provider that is the third largest cell-phone manufacturer on the globe, has announced a multiyear sponsorship of the Washington Redskins.
The tech giant, which debuted at No. 94 as the first Chinese brand to make brandchannel owner Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report, is also now the “Official Technology Partner” of the team, according to a press release.[more]
It seems like an odd choice, as outrage and debate over the team’s name and logo continue. Actor (and longtime fan) Matthew McConaughey defended the name this week, while Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach expressed his view that the name should be changed if it’s offensive to Native Americans.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently cancelled the team’s trademark, and news outlets such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, and Sports Illustrated, among many others, either won’t use the term or have writers that refuse to. Members of Congress have even suggested that the team’s name needs to be changed, according to The Washington Post.
But team owner Dan Snyder continues to hold firm that he will never change the name—and Huawei doesn’t seem concerned.
This is the brand’s first sponsorship of a major sports team, and its business also happens to be booming globally as it looks to become a household name in the U.S.
With 65 percent of Huawei’s revenue coming from outside of China and with its earnings continuing to climb both domestically and across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the company is quickly becoming one of the largest telecommunications equipment makers in the world.
And now, Huawei’s name will be all over Washington’s FedEx Field, and it will provide the Wi-Fi network at the suite level—so fans who don’t want to pay attention to the game can watch video on their mobiles of more interesting things that might be going on, such as protests against the team’s name going on outside the stadium.
And in another element of the sponsorship, from brandchannel contributor Abe Sauer:
Washington Redskins in Chinese is 华盛顿 红皮 Huáshèngdùn hóng pí. Literally, Washington “Red skins” #huawei
— Abe Sauer (@abesauer) October 24, 2014
[Image via PRNewswire.com]