Why do sports teams and businesses have mascots?

Have you ever stopped to think about whether good or bad fortune can actually exist? The Irish are often associated with being lucky, and many of the nation’s symbols are used as good luck charms. Mascots have become an embodiment of business and sports teams’ belief in luck over the years, but can having a mascot actually help you on the path to success?

The word mascot originates from the French “mascotte,” which means lucky charm. Mascots have been used in sports since the start of the 20th Century and were primarily brought in as a way to bring more excitement and entertainment to spectators. Animals were often chosen and were sometimes thought of as an additional way to strike fear into the opposition. This is why predators are a common theme among mascots, with eagles, tigers, and lions popping up frequently.

According to Ruby Fortune, the history of mascots dates back further than sports. Initially, they were ornaments and charms that were thought to bring luck to a house. Perhaps even earlier than that, military units adopted mascots on their banners as well. Nowadays, mascots can be used for nearly everything but are particularly popular with businesses and sports teams.

When picking a mascot, inspiration is often taken from Ireland. One of the most famous cases of this is at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The university’s athletics department is called Fighting Irish, and they have a boxing leprechaun as their mascot. This became the team’s official mascot in 1965 and, prior to that, they used Irish terriers. Mascots have become huge in the US especially, and they have been used to help boost franchises and help them to be more recognisable.

In business, mascots have been incorporated to help customers relate to the brand and recognise it instantly. Some famous examples are Ronald McDonald from McDonald’s and Geoffrey the Giraffe from Toys R Us. While the mascots may not necessarily bring good fortune to the company per se, they can help boost sales. So, in a sense, they are lucky because they can help a company to thrive.

In terms of mascots actually bringing good luck, it’s hard to find any research to support it. However, mascots and things that people associate with being lucky can make people change their outlook on life, which can lead to good fortune happening. In Derren Brown’s 2011 series The Experiments, the illusionist decided to test whether a lucky charm would work. He found that because people believed that something was lucky, they were more likely to enter competitions and think they had a good chance of winning. Those who didn’t believe in the lucky mascot always found themselves avoiding situations in which they may have the opportunity to get lucky.

Mascots have been around and are likely to remain until the end of time, as they provide a number of advantages for businesses and sports teams. The main use of them is to become more recognisable as a brand, but they can also help people believe in the concept of luck. This, in turn, can lead to good fortune occurring.


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