Pro sports is a $10 billion a year industry. More than 30 million people watch the world’s best athletes battle every night of the week in football, baseball, hockey, basketball and more. And trust us, those owners want to sell their team’s merchandise to these rabid fans. That means rebranding a franchise in a new city or with new jerseys or, in this case, a new team logo can equal big business. Still, for every New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys, you have some mascots that teams would rather have you forget! Here’s our ten favorite since they have a sci-fi angle!
10. Denver Drunk Ghosts
This beloved team mascot was part of the amazing 1997 season for Denver’s basketball team. But as the playoffs began, one industrious reporter found out why the ghost was drunk: the backstory was that this ghost was a drunk driver who died in an accident that also killed 2 children. After that, Denver quickly redesigned their uniforms. Any merchandise featuring the Drunk Ghost now fetches a pretty penny on eBay with hardcore collectors.
9. Roanoke Robot Maids
Here’s a case of no one having a problem with the mascot but the team itself just couldn’t sustain a fanbase. Roanoke, Virginia was the last place that needed a pro football team. Nevertheless, everyone universally loved the robot maids and no one ever objected to any aspect of this mascot.
8. Philadelphia Furries
This fierce wolf was there from the beginning. From 1936 to 1987, the Philly Furry was the rallying point for local fans. But as the mascots dug deeper and deeper into the furry subculture, mainstream fans became alienated. By 1986, when the Furry took to the field to deliver his opening humping to the Submissive Turtle, it was clear he’d changed a lot from the height of his popularity in 1965 (Philly’s “Good Year”). Combined with the thousands of cases of groping, it was time for a change.
7. Kansas City Kuatos
It was 1991 and we were all in love with the movie Total Recall. Never one to let a trend pass him by, team owner Mickey Ludley licensed the mutant Kuato. Unfortunately, it was one of Ludley’s rare missteps. Every time the realistic mascot (allegedly built at a cost of $3 million by the effects wizards at Backside Slime Shop) took to the field, audiences vomited uncontrollably. Once the class action lawsuit began, the writing was on the wall and Kuato was never seen again.
6. New Jersey Neckbeard Wizards
To be fair, this was actually the mascot of a AAA baseball team, but we figured we had to include it for its historical significance. On April 27, 1965, Herbert Cosgrove became the first politician who was a former athlete and he campaigned with the help of his old team mascot, the Neckbeard Wizard.
5. San Fransisco Rambo Shark Riders
Talk about a boneheaded play! This super popular mascot only lasted a month before the lawyers got involved. The team forgot that Rambo is a popular series of movies and never paid the movie studios for the rights. Despite a last-minute fan-mounted campaign which involved thousands of fans mailing shark fins to the movie studio it was too little too late.
4. Boston Book Burners
Credit where it’s due: when the team learned that book burning was considered “uneducational” it only took them 5 years to react and get their team name changed.
3. Michigan Memes
With a history dating back to 1919, the Michigan Memes seemed like they’d be here forever. But this timeless mascot finally met his match when Social Media Cancer was discovered in 2012. The retroactive lawsuits are still clogging up the courts!
2. Fayetteville Farting Santas
Okay, we all love Santa and we all love farts but a Farting Santa as a mascot? It’s just too much to explain. Mascots should be simple and straightforward, right? Combine that with the fact that the majority of the baseball season takes place throughout Spring and Summer and the winter-based Santa seems an especially odd choice. Good riddance!
1. Clearwater Crying Nazis
We all get what Clearwater was trying to do for its hockey team. It was 1968 and Hogan’s Heroes was a popular sitcom which portrayed the Nazis as incompetent buffoons. But a crying Hitler was just a bridge too far, apparently. After 3 seasons with rapidly dwindling ticket sales, Clearwater rebranded with its much more popular Elk with Bad Diarrhea mascot.