I like bourbon as much as the next person. I quite like it with smoked orange bitters, agave syrup and Meyer lemon juice. But I don’t get this Proof Louisville FC name.
The new NWSL expansion team in Kentucky has a name, and we’re not sure what to do with it. It’s just weird, which can be good, but also it’s weird, which can be bad.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that trademark filings were made for NWSL’s 10th team, along with a logo.
— Business First (@BFLouisville) November 12, 2019
Brad Estes, president of Louisville City FC, which also owns the NWSL club, confirmed the team name later Tuesday, saying Proof Louisville FC was picked out of “probably 100 names.”
“For us, the bourbon industry is a big thing here,” Estes told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “It’s a huge component to our economy. But this is not a name that is specifically tailored to bourbon. It defines our community, where we are at this stage of our life cycle as a city. We’re proving every day that we’re growing and that we belong in the upper echelon.”
Estes then went all high-school-valedictorian-speech on us with a quote about the definition of a word.
“When you look at the definition of the word ‘proof,’ it talks about resiliency; it talks about strength,” Estes said. “That’s what we think this team will represent. We think the name will represent them, what they do on the field and it will represent our city very well.”
Proof Louisville FC was confirmed as the next NWSL franchise in October and will debut in 2021. The club will play at the new Lynn Family Stadium alongside Louisville City FC.
Louisville, of course, is well known for its bourbon, with about a third of all American-made bourbon coming out of the Kentucky city. The club hopes the Proof Louisville FC name could help attract a bourbon company to sponsor the club.
“I think it’s neat, pun intended,” said Karl Schmitt, president and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission. “Three fingers neat.”
The name could turn off many who disapprove of alcohol. Even if Estes wants to refer to other definitions of the word, Proof Louisville FC was obviously named with liquor connotations.
It’s wild how many people are completely unable to comprehend the idea of people who don’t like alcohol— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) November 12, 2019
There’s already a petition to change the team name.
— #NWSL2LOU (@ProofLouisville) November 12, 2019
We don’t want to just come out and say Proof Louisville FC is an absolutely awful name, because we can think of worse names. But it’s just such a weird choice we don’t know if we should hate it or love it.
On the one hand, it at least avoids the copycat names of clubs like Minnesota United FC and Real Salt Lake while retaining a hint of soccerness ala the Philadelphia Union. On the other, calling a team Proof just feels so weird.
The biggest question is what the fans will think. Will those in Kentucky embrace their bourbon heritage and support the club? Or will they be turned off by the weirdness of it all or just avoid it altogether because of references to alcohol?
Let us know what you think. Preferably without booze puns.