The meaning of REAL

Anyone know what this refers to when it is a name of a sports team (football or soccer, depending on your location, seems to be the only sport that has this name).

Examples would be Real Madrid or Real Salt Lake.

Any thoughts?

It’s Spanish for ‘royal’.

Thanks. That certainly explains the connection to Madrid, although I’m not sure I “get” the name “real Madrid”. I admit I’ve never really understood most soccer team names. I figured out that “FC” stands for “football club”, but why “Real Madrid”? Is this a team name, with the nickname in front of the city name because of language conventions? (I.e. Real Madrid would be known as the Madrid Royals in the US?

What about teams like the All Blacks?

I don’t think it’s a team name like “The Royals.” It carries support from the Spanish monarchy. European soccer teams do have some nicknames, but in general they’re less prominent than in the U.S. sports and it seems like the teams are mostly known by their city names.

The club did not originally have the “Real” designation. It was given to them officially by the King of Spain in 1920. He also allowed the club to use a representation of the royal crown in the team emblem. It’s essentially a formal recognition and endorsement of the club by the Spanish royal family.

King Alfonso XIII was a fan of the club, and according to the club’s own website, the notification of the “Real” designation “was eagerly anticipated by the Madridista Directors.”

On the page i linked, if you go to the section “1911-1920” in the Flash history timeline, you can view an image of the royal announcement. I’m not sure about today, but back in 1920 i’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have been allowed to call yourself “Real” without official approval from the Crown.

“All Blacks” is a nickname - if you see their team colours, it’s pretty obvious where it came from.

In the case of Real Madrid, “Real” is pronounced more like “Ray-ahl”.

Alfonso also gave Real Sociedad the royal part of its name.

It’s more that European teams have official names like Manchester United Football Club and then have nicknames that, while they might be official, are not a part of the actual team name. American sports teams used to do this, I believe (at least baseball did), but these days Orioles, Jets, Bruins, etc. aren’t nicknames, they’re part of the actual name of the team.

As for Real Salt Lake, even we diehard American soccer fans, scratched our heads over the stupidity of the name selection. We weren’t surprised though. It’s a part of an ongoing attempt by MLS to make their teams sound more European. Other examples would be DC United, FC Toronto or FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City, and (very briefly) Houston 1836.

Then, I must ask… Where is the uproar over Real Salt Lake? :smiley:

All joking aside, that has to be the dumbest name for a team in the US since the Utah Jazz came into existence. But at least the nickname Jazz had strong roots from the teams original city, New Orleans. Real Salt Lake was created by some idiot in marketing who knew as much about the history and reasoning behind “real” as I did.

But I guess it sounds cool or European, which is good enough for the soccer fans in the US, I guess. :dubious:

I guess there is a reason for all the names, then… Like Manchester United. Whereas DC United pulled the name out of their collective marketing asses. Totally strange to me. Also odd is US soccer’s refusal to give any team a plural nickname, such as “the Patriots”. Instead, that areas team is “The Revolution”.*

*movie fans will recognize that the name “Revolution” is also misguided, as that was the name for the new roller coaster targeted for sabotage by the “crazy bomber”, from the movie “Roller Coaster”, presented in “Surround Sound!!” in the summer of 1977).

I think I’m losing it.

Vancouver Whitecaps; New York Red Bulls; Seattle Sounders; San Jose Earthquakes; Portland Timbers; Colorado Rapids.

I’m not a soccer fan, but I thought Real Salt Lake was clever. Then again I like the incongruity of “Utah Jazz.”

I would argue that the Utah Jazz is only marginally stupider than the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sure. Show off you MLS (is it MLS??) knowledge. I’m not embarrassed.

I’m betting you didn’t even need to look that up.

Why is NY named after a drink that will “give you wiiings”? Sponsor or coincidence?

I think the New York Blue Bulls sounds better.

I like this line from dumb-but-fun film Baseketball. They’re decrying the state of modern sports.

“Soon it was commonplace for entire teams to change cities in search of greater profits. The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles where there are no lakes. The Oilers moved to Tennessee where there is no oil. The Jazz moved to Salt Lake City where they don’t allow music.”

Okay, while we’re naming teams: I guess I know why we call them the Boston Sell-ticks (ooh… double entendre too!). Perhaps a US tendency to pronounce the “C” soft? But why do the honest to God Hiberno-Scottish “kelts” in Glasgow pronounce it soft?

Yes, owned by Red Bull GmbH. If you think that is weird, check out the world of Japanese baseball. The team names are normal-ish (dunno what a BayStar is, and it’s the Fighters owned by Nippon Ham, not the Fighters of Ham). But they take the corporate sponsor name instead of the city/area, or put both in together.

At least the Red Bulls sounds like a sports team name. The team’s original name was MetroStars (named that because of their original sponsor Metropolitan Life) which was beyond stupid sounding. I do sort of miss the crazy taxi logo, though.

Crazy Taxi Logo

We pronounce it “seltic” because that’s the way the founders named it in 1888. You will find acrimonious debate among scholars of this sort of thing, some of whom argue that the “s” pronunciation predates the “k” pronunciation and that in 1888, everyone would have said the word that way in all contexts.

I don’t know - I’m no expert. But that’s the basic answer to your question: we pronounce it Seltic because that’s how we pronounce it.