A New Look for a New Empire

by Seth Burum

On Saturday, September 17, in front of more than 7,500 fans online and in person, the Ontario Fury, now the Empire Strykers, turned in their jerseys for a new look and a new name. After nine years, and a strong fan following, trademark disputes led the Fury to undergo a major rebranding.

To engage fans during the rebranding, the Fury reached out to season ticket holders and the community via social media and surveys, asking for suggestions on possible names for the professional indoor soccer team. After taking their comments into consideration and consulting with top marketing experts from around the country, the Fury started working with several potential options for the new name. In the end, after much deliberation, Empire Strykers best represented the rebrand goal and future direction of the team.

"The Empire Strykers’ rebranded name and logo represents everything that we want MASL to be,” stated Shep Messing, Chairman of the Major Arena Soccer League. “Bold, fast, exciting, and explosive. We wish them well in both identifying where they play and connecting with their loyal fans.”

The rebranding has given the Empire Strykers the opportunity to re-engage the community around the team and bring new energy to the sport. Managing Partner Jeff Burum commented, “I am excited about the future and what it means for the region and professional soccer. It is our vision to become an integral part of this community, bringing excitement on game days and providing a great family experience for all to enjoy.”

Long-time supporters of the team also are embracing the new name and direction of the team. “San Antonio Regional Hospital is a proud sponsor of the Empire Strykers,” commented San Antonio Reginal Hospital President and CEO John T. Chapman. “Both organizations are enthusiastically committed to the outstanding community we represent.”

The new name was announced during halftime of the much-anticipated USA vs. Mexico game at the Toyota Arena in Ontario. National CORE, one of the largest sponsors of the now Empire Strykers, distributed more than 2,500 complimentary tickets, to families living in their housing communities. “We have an amazing partnership with the Empire Strykers,” said National CORE President and CEO Steve PonTell. “Because of the generosity of the team, we are able to bring soccer to the thousands of families we serve in the region, many of whom would never be able to attend a major soccer game, let alone interact with the players.”

If the Mexico vs. USA game is any indication of the season ahead, the Empire Strykers are off to a great start. Of the seven goals scored by Team USA, six of them were made by Strykers players. After the game Head Coach and General Manager Jimmy Nordberg commented, “We are looking forward to a great season and to bringing home a championship to our great community.”