Bizarre sports team names and where they came from

Sports team names often range from the intimidating to the downright bizarre, with some monikers leaving fans and opponents alike scratching their heads.

These unique names are not just for show Live Scores; they often have fascinating stories behind them, deeply rooted in local culture, history, or an inside joke among team members. Here’s a look at some of the most bizarre sports team names and the tales behind their unusual choices:

Hartlepool United (Football) – The Monkey Hangers

This English football club’s nickname stems from a legendary tale during the Napoleonic Wars. Folklore has it that the people of Hartlepool hanged a monkey, mistaking it for a French spy. While tragic, the story has been embraced humorously by the locals and the football team.

Botswana Meat Commission FC (Botswana)

This football club’s name might sound more like a regulatory body than a sports team, and that’s because it’s named after the Botswana Meat Commission, the country’s beef exporting board. The team was established as a recreational outlet for the commission’s employees, and the name has since become one of the most unique in African football.

Cornish Pirates (England)

While their games aren’t played at anywhere near the same level of intensity that we witnessed in the France v Ireland game during the opening round of the Six Nations, the Cornish Pirates rugby union team are a seriously good rugby team that play in England’s second division.

They’re also a team that embraces their swashbuckling heritage. Based in Penzance, a town with historic ties to piracy, the name reflects the region’s history and folklore.

Deportivo Wanka (Peru) – The Wankas

Named after the Wankas tribe, an indigenous people of the Peruvian Andes, this football club’s name has garnered international attention due to its phonetic similarity to the English slang term for, err, onanism… Despite the unintended humour for English speakers, the name carries cultural significance in Peru.

University of California, Santa Cruz (Various Sports) – The Banana Slugs

Unconventional and memorable, the Banana Slug is a mascot that represents the non-athletic, laid-back culture of UCSC. This choice was made by students to counter traditional aggressive sports team names, embracing the slow-moving, yet resilient nature of the local forest slug.

Young Boys of Bern (Football)

This Swiss football team’s name might raise eyebrows, but it simply reflects the club’s origins. Established by young men in 1898, the name was a straightforward description that has endured, becoming one of the most recognisable in Swiss football.


These teams prove that when it comes to naming a sports team, sometimes the most bizarre choice creates the most lasting legacy, embedding itself into the fabric of the team’s identity and culture.

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