The Washington Post

Miami Marlins will not purchase from local fisherman

The Florida Marlins will be born again next spring.

They’ve also got a new logo.

What they’re missing, is ownership of — a key ingredient to reshaping the brand of a major sports franchise.

Yeah, about that...

Type the URL into your browser and find a blank white page with only copyright information and an e-mail address. Clearly, the site is not being used for anything, but that doesn’t mean its owner is willing to give it up — especially not now that he’s guaranteed a flood of traffic from those trying to find the Marlins’ 2012 schedule and stats.

As luck would have it, a local fisherman named Guido Blanco bought the domain in 1997 with the goal of starting a charter-fishing company, according to Miami New Times reporter Tim Elfrink. The venture never materialized, but Blaco has maintained ownership of the site ever since, meaning the Marlins cannot claim he’s simply “cybersquatting”.

According to spokesman Matthew Gould, the league and the Marlins have no plans to acquire the site from Blanco, which would make them the only team in the league not to own the rights to its team name domain. Gould said the Marlins will continue to use as their main web address.

The real head-scratcher in all of this: if Miami’s taxpayers were willing to foot the $515 million bill for the new ballpark, why not shell out an extra chunk of change to repossess the domain? Blanco is a fisherman and boat salesman, not a marketing executive — his price can’t be too astronomical.

But it sounds like the Marlins never even broached the idea.

“I didn’t know they were changing their name,” Blanco told the New Times.

“I don’t really follow baseball, to be honest. I’m from Miami. This is a football town.”

(H/T Albert Zabala)

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.

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