Arsenal Fan TV's AFTV rebrand.

An interesting fight in recent years has seen some teams trying to stop fans or media organizations from using the trademarked team name in sites about it. For example, the Washington Redskins pressured The Washington Post in 2011 to either pay for the use of “Redskins” or change their “Redskins Insider” blog name (the Post rebranded it to “Football Insider”), and many prominent team blogs don’t use the name of whatever team they cover in their site title to avoid similar pressures. This now appears to have happened in England, where popular YouTube channel Arsenal Fan TV (which has been around since 2012 and has over 820,000 followers) recently rebranded to “AFTV.” As per The Sun (yes, we apologize for linking it, but they’re the ones covering this), that’s thanks to pressure from the club:

ARSENAL FAN TV has been forced into ‘rebrand’ after the football club held discussions with the YouTube channel.

It is understood unauthorised use of the copyrighted ‘Arsenal’ for audio and visual recordings was having a negative impact on the club.

And a fan noted on Twitter that Arsenal actually sent the channel a cease-and-desist over use of their trademarked name:

That follow-up is an important note there. There are plenty of blogs, channels and so on in many sports that do use trademarked team names, but they’re generally not worth the time or effort for teams to shut them down. And considering that most are run by ardent fans of the team in question, going after them can be bad PR as well. But Arsenal Fan TV has been known for some rather over-the-top commentary, like 2017’s “Peter Cech Is A Double Agent!” and this week’s “The Unai Emery Revolution Gets Off To A Faltering Start!” So maybe the club decided it was worth getting the “Arsenal” out of their name.

Practically, this doesn’t necessarily mean all that much. It seems unlikely many people were thinking that the channel was associated with the club just thanks to the name, so Arsenal isn’t necessarily gaining a lot by having them remove it, and while “AFTV” may be worse for search purposes, their channel still shows up at the top of the Google results for “Arsenal Fan TV.” So this isn’t necessarily disastrous for the channel either. But it’s interesting to see a club go to the lengths of trying to force a fan outlet to change its name. And fans who cover a team for an outlet that includes the team name in its title should be aware that this kind of pressure is a possibility.

[@KeenosAFC on Twitter]


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.