MLB fans divided on Cleveland Indians’ decision to change name

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
December 15, 2020, 6:09 PM GMT+0

The Cleveland Indians owner plans to change the team’s name, a decision that has Major League Baseball fans in the United States divided, new YouGov data shows.

News emerged on December 14 the team will retire the Indians name – which has been deemed racist by some groups in recent years. A poll of MLB fans shows 49% support the move, while 45% oppose and 7% are not sure.

It’s not yet known what the new name will be, or when the change will take place. Team owner Paul Dolan told the Associated Press that the team will continue to play as the Indians at least through the next season.

"We'll be the Indians in 2021 and then after that, it's a difficult and complex process to identify a new name and do all the things you do around activating that name," Dolan said. "We are going to work at as quick a pace as we can while doing it right.

In July, YouGov conducted a similar poll following the Washington Redskin’s name change and found a bare majority of National Football League fans in the United States (52%) supported the decision, compared to 36% who opposed. In the interim, the team is known as the Washington Football Team.

The Indians will not have an interim team name. "We don't want to be the Cleveland Baseball Team or some other interim name," Dolan told the AP.

Methodology: 3,125 US adults were surveyed through YouGov Direct between December 14 -15, 2020. Sample included 688 adults who stated they are somewhat interested in the MLB or that the MLB was their top interest. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 2.7% for the overall sample.

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