Which Professional Sports Teams Don't Own the Domains for their Team Names?

You might expect that the domains for valuable brands would all be owned by the brand-owners themselves. For many large brands, this is certainly true; cocacola.com is owned by The Coca Cola Company, and mcdonalds.com is owned by McDonalds Corporation.

How many professional sports clubs own the domains for their team names? The results are quite surprising and vary greatly based on the league. We checked the domains of the four major team-sports leagues in the U.S.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has by far the lowest percentage of team name domains, where just 27% of their teams' domain is an official team site. Nearly half (14/30) of hockey team names names are actually parked with ads! The next lowest with official ownership is the National Football League (NFL), which has just 50% of their team name domains. Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association are remarkably close, with the former owning 77% of their team name domains and the former owning 80%.

When a team doesn't own the brand-name domain itself, they typically own a domain with the brand name preceded by the city name such as orlandomagic.com or njnets.com. In some instances, this works relatively well, but in other cases there is some ambiguity. rams.com would certainly be better than the possible variations: saintlouisrams.com - stlouisrams.com - slrams.com - st.louisrams.com - stlrams.com

One domain to highlight is mavericks.com; the Dallas Mavericks are owned by legendary internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban who sold broadcast.com to Yahoo for over $5 billion. One might expect that of all owners, Cuban would be the one to recognize the importance of domain names and brand management.

Of course, a domain is only available for purchase, if the current owner is willing to sell.

One of the worst professional sport domains may be titansonline.com

Here are the results of our research which was conducted in July 2007:

NBA Domains NOT Under Team/League Ownership

  • Cleveland Cavaliers, cavaliers.com redirects to a page of ads. Official Cavaliers site: ClevelandCavaliers.com
  • Utah Jazz, jazz.com: "Jazz.com coming soon." Official Jazz site: UtahJazz.com
  • Orlando Magic, magic.com: "Site Not Found" Error. Official Magic site: OrlandoMagic.com
  • Dallas Mavericks, mavericks.com: page of ads. Official Mavericks site: DallasMavericks.com
  • New Jersey Nets, nets.com: "Site Not Found" Error. Official Nets site: NJNets.com
  • Washington Wizards, wizards.com: owned by Wizards of the Coast (retail games). Official Wizards site: WashingtonWizards.com

NBA Domains Owned by Team/League

MLB Team Names Not Under Official Ownership

  • Los Angeles Angels, angels.com: static image registered in Seoul, Korea. Official Angels site: AnaheimAngels.com
  • Oakland Athletics, athletics.com: secure login page for Net Athletics, Inc. Official Athletics site: OaklandAs.com
  • St. Louis Cardinals, cardinals.com: page of ads. Official Cardinals site: StLouisCardinals.com
  • San Francisco Giants, giants.com: belongs to NFL team NY Giants. Official Giants site: SFGiants.com
  • Texas Rangers, rangers.com: redirects to oxide.com, page of ads. Official Rangers site: TexasRangers.com
  • Colorado Rockies, rockies.com: The Rocky Mountain Authority, tourist resources for the Rocky Mountains. Official Rockies site: ColoradoRockies.com
  • Minnesota Twins.com, twins.com: personal website of D & D Miller. Official Twins site: MinnesotaTwins.com

MLB Team Names Under Official Ownership

NFL Team Names Not Under Official Ownership

  • Chicago Bears, bears.com: page of ads. Official Bears site: ChicagoBears.com
  • Buffalo Bills, bills.com: owned by Bills.com, LLC; financial services. Official Bills site: BuffaloBills.com
  • Denver Broncos, broncos.com: page of ads. Official Broncos site: DenverBroncos.com
  • Cleveland Browns, browns.com: page of ads. Official Browns site: ClevelandBrowns.com
  • Arizona Cardinals, cardinals.com: page of ads. Official Cardinals site: AZCardinals.com
  • Dallas Cowboys, cowboys.com: owned by Cowboys.com; cowboy-themed retail. Official Cowboys site: DallasCowboys.com
  • Miami Dolphins, dolphins.com: page of ads. Official Dolphins site: MiamiDolphins.com
  • Philadelphia Eagles, eagles.com: page of ads. Official Eagles site: PhiladelphiaEagles.com
  • Atlanta Falcons, falcons.com: page of ads. Official Falcons site: AtlantaFalcons.com
  • New York Jets, jets.com: owned by CharterAuction.com, Inc; membership-only private jet travel site. Official Jets site: NYJets.com
  • Detroit Lions, lions.com: Lions Park Computers, Ltd. Official Lions site: DetroitLions.com
  • St. Louis Rams, rams.com: redirects to Photo Vault images of rams. Official Rams site: StLouisRams.com
  • Baltimore Ravens, ravens.com: redirects to a history site about Yale University's football team. Official Ravens site: BaltimoreRavens.com
  • New Orleans Saints, saints.com: page of ads. Official Saints site: NewOrleansSaints.com
  • Houston Texans, texans.com: page of ads. Official Texans site: HoustonTexans.com
  • Tennessee Titans, titans.com: broken. Official Titans site: TitansOnline.com

NFL Team Names Under Official Ownership

NHL Team Names Not Under Official Ownership

  • Colorado Avalanche, avalanche.com: page of ads. Official Avalanche site: ColoradoAvalanche.com
  • Chicago Blackhawks, blackhawks.com: redirects to cnews.com, page of ads. Official Blackhawks site: ChicagoBlackhawks.com
  • St. Louis Blues, blues.com: page of ads. Official Blues site: StLouisBlues
  • Boston Bruins, bruins.com: page of ads. Official Bruins site: BostonBruins.com
  • Washington Capitals, capitals.com: page of ads. Official Capitals site: WashingtonCapitals.com
  • Phoenix Coyotes, coyotes.com: page of ads. Official Coyotes site: Phoenixcoyotes.com
  • New Jersey Devils, devils.com: redirects to fansuperstore.com; retail sports teams site. Official Devils site: NewJerseyDevils.com
  • Anaheim Ducks, ducks.com: redirects to Bass Pro Shops; retail fishing site. Official Ducks site: AnaheimDucks.com
  • Calgary Flames, flames.com: page of ads. Official Flames site: CalgaryFlames.com
  • Philadelphia Flyers, flyers.com: privately owned fan site about Philadelphia Flyers. Official Flyers site: PhiladelphiaFlyers.com
  • New York Islanders, islanders.com: owned by Traveler.com LLC; tourist site for island destinations. Official Islanders site: NewYorkIslanders.com
  • Los Angeles Kings, kings.com: owned by NBA team Sacramento Kings. Official Kings site: LAKings.com
  • Tampa Bay Lightning, lightning.com: page of ads. Official Lightening site: TampaBayLightning.com
  • Edmonton Oilers, oilers.com: page of ads. Official Oilers site: EdmontonOilers.com
  • Florida Panthers, panthers.com: owned by NFL team Carolina Panthers. Official Panthers site: FloridaPanthers.com
  • Pittsburgh Penguins, penguins.com: page of ads. Official Penguins site: Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Nashville Predators, predators.com: page of ads. Official Predators site: NashvillePredators.com
  • New York Rangers, rangers.com: page of ads. Official Rangers site: NYRangers.com
  • Detroit Red Wings, redwings.com: page of ads. Official Red Wings site: DetroitRedWings.com
  • San Jose Sharks, sharks.com: page of ads. Official Sharks site: SJSharks.com
  • Dallas Stars, stars.com: broken. Official Stars site: DallasStars.com
  • Atlanta Thrashers, thrashers.com: page of ads. Official Thrashers site: AtlantaThrashers.com

NHL Team Names Under Official Ownership

Trademark domains are invaluable for many reasons. Obviously, strong branding is important, and that works hand-in-hand with garnering type-in traffic. For these reasons, we would expect professional sports franchises to recognize the value of having their domain and team name be identical.

Written by Lindsay D.