SIA Casino Influences Edmonton Eskimo Name Change
by Glenn Baird - August 3, 2020
Just over a week ago Edmonton Football Team retired its notorious moniker. This came after outside pressures and pressures from corporate affiliations, such as Sports Interaction Casino (SIA Casino), said enough was enough.
If you weren’t already aware, Edmonton is the capital city of the province of Alberta and its football team is the most successful in the Canadian Football League, having won the “Grey Cup” an unprecedented 11 times in their history. They are the most northernly based football team in North America and were established at the turn of the previous century.
The football team is the last of 3 sporting franchises from the city to drop the term “Eskimo” from their name, something that unlikely to happen early on this year. It was only February that Edmonton released the following statement, following what the club described as “an extensive year-long formal research and engagement program with Inuit leaders and community members across Canada”:
“There were a range of views regarding the Club’s name but no consensus emerged to support a name change. The Club has therefore decided to retain its name.”
Edmonton signed a deal with Quebec based operator, Sports Interaction Casino, back in 2019. The partnership saw Edmonton agree to exclusive online casino and sports gaming with Sports Interaction.
SIA Casino is an online casino and sports book. They are based in Quebec and are operated by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. Ryan Stetson, a spokesperson for the brand wrote the following to CTV news reporter Matthew Black, just a few weeks ago:
“Sports Interaction will be asking the Edmonton Eskimos to change its name so that we can continue supporting the club and its fans,”
And it was not only SIA Casino who led the fight to see Edmonton change their name. Other partners include 12 “Premier Partners”, all of which said they would end their affiliation with the club if they retained the name.
Belairdirect, an insurance company based in Canada were the first partner to issue an ultimatum: “At Belairdirect one of our core values is respect, which is founded on seeing diversity as a strength, being inclusive and collaborative.
“In order for us to move forward and continue on with our partnership with the Edmonton Eskimos, we will need to see concrete action in the near future including a name change. We have shared our position with the team.”
Washington Set the Precedent
In the end, the owners of Edmonton were left with little choice. The spotlight was on them and the world had changed dramatically from the one that let them off the hook back in February.
Companies, such as FedEx, Nike and Wal-Mart were just a few of the high-profile names to wade in on the argument and apply pressure on the club to make the change, something they had already done with the higher profile Washington Redskins. As the protests increased, dropping the name became more than just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do if Edmonton Football Club wanted to retain revenue outside of gate receipts, something that was also likely to have taken some damage.
SIA Casino were, according to reports, one of the first partners to voice their opposition to the name and as such played a vital role in seeing it changed.
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