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Charlotte Bobcats begin process of changing name to 'Hornets'

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CHARLOTTE, NC (CBS Sports) -

The Charlotte Bobcats are in the process of changing their name to "Hornets," a source with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com's Will Brinson, including arranging digital assets that would allow a return to their original nickname.

There is no timetable for the switch though NBA commissioner to be Adam Silver told Bobcats season ticket holders in April that such a change would take at least 18 months to implement. Moreover, the change is not unexpected and would likely be popular with the North Carolina fan base.

Bobcats chairman and owner Michael Jordan confirmed in February that the team hired "a national polling group" (previously reported as Harris Interactive) to determine how fans felt about a change back to Hornets. Jordan called the reaction to the poll "very mixed." Numerous grassroots groups have pushed for a return to Hornets.

"This is a tiny part of what is a much bigger grand plan that I think the franchise has. It improves community relations, fan morale..it doesn't do anything for the court performance but it gets people in the seats and rallies the troops...and it sort of buys the front office the time to build the team," John Morgan with Bring Back the Buzz said.

"It's kinda the I told you so moment that we've been waiting to have happen," Scotty Kent with Bring Back the Buzz said.

Charlotte's NBA team was known as the Hornets from its 1988 inception through 2002 when then owner George Shinn moved the team -- and mascot -- to New Orleans. When the New Orleans franchise changed its nickname to Pelicans this past season, it opened the door for "Hornets" to return to Charlotte.

Silver told season ticket holders re-acquiring the name "Hornets" would not be an issue, stating that the NBA and not the Pelicans owned the moniker. Acquiring and rearranging the necessary digital assets would be a major part of any change. Hornets.com and CharlotteHornets.com are owned by NBA Media Ventures, LLC and currently redirect to NBA.com/Pelicans.

However, a WhoIs.net search for the domain name NBAHornets.com shows that the URL was created and registered very recently -- on May 15, 2013 to be exact -- by NBA Media Ventures, LLC.

NBA Media Ventures, LLC, is the media branch of the NBA and owns NBA.com, Hornets.com and CharlotteHornets.com.

"Once they get people in the seats maybe it will create an environment where bigger name players want to come," Evan Kent with Bring Back the Buzz said.

"Is this now going to make you want to go back more than once a year...just because of the name? I know the product isn't very good on the court but is this going to sell tickets? To me this is the million dollar question," Radio Host of On the Beat Brett Jensen said. "In the 80's and 90's when they were selling 24,000 tickets to every single game, no one talked about Charlotte is too small...players actually wanted to come to Charlotte...because of the fan support."

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