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Bristol change name to Bears for Premiership return

From BBC - April 16, 2018

Bristol have incorporated 'Bears' into their name and changed their club crest to an image of the animal's head in a relaunch to mark their return to the Premiership next season.

It is the second time in the past 20 years that the club has adopted a nickname, having taken the name Bristol Shoguns as part of a sponsorship deal.

The club hopes the the name change to Bristol Bears will "attract a whole new generation of supporters".

The name comes into effect on 1 June.

Owner Steve Lansdown, who also oversaw Bristol's permanent move to Ashton Gate when the club last played in the Premiership in 2015-16, said they had to be "prepared to break the mould' in an effort to market the side in a "growing international market".

He continued: "This is an exciting and major commitment to ensuring the future success of the club.

"We recognise that there is a history and tradition associated with all sports clubs and we are conscious and proud of the loyalty, bond and passion so many share for Bristol Rugby."

In a 19-page brochure that accompanied the relaunch, the club drew heavily on comparison to the bear, referencing physicality, spirit, hunger and fearlessness as well as "awakening from hibernation".

Bristol, the city itself, has no history of being home to any bears.

Bristol will return to the Premiership in 2018-19 as Championship title winners after being relegated last term.

Head coach Pat Lam, who has guided the club back to the top flight in his first season in charge, said he "loved the idea" of a name change to the Bears when first consulted.

"The whole spirit is a huge part of it," he told BBC Radio Bristol. "To get something that resembles and resonates with myself and my coach philosophy and what we are trying to do was exciting."

'We will be known at the Yogis'

Bristol Rugby Supporters Club treasurer Mike West said he was "disappointed" that the club had rebranded itself without consulting the group.

"I am not best pleased," he told BBC Sport. "I am absolutely puzzled why they did not consult the Bristol Rugby Supporters Club, which represents a majority of fans.

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