SPOKANE, WA – The Spokane indoor football team unveiled their new team name, logos, and colors today as they prepare for their inaugural season as a member of the Indoor Football League in 2016.
The newest expansion franchise of the IFL will be known as the Spokane Empire. A name with geographical ties to the Pacific Inland Northwest, also known as the "Inland Empire," is a region encompassing the surrounding Columbia River basin and North Idaho. As the commercial center of the Inland Northwest in the early 20th century, Spokane was also known as the "Capital of the Inland Empire."
The team's logos, created by Graphic Designer Brian Gundell, feature locomotive and railroad elements to pay tribute to Spokane's railroad history that served as a catalyst to region's population and economic growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The locomotive graphic represents a hybrid train model, taking in pieces from a number of different engines used during the time period. The team also involved individuals affiliated with the Inland NW Rail Museum, with plans to develop an ongoing relationship with the group as a part of the team's community outreach programs.
"We wanted to find a name that was unique and that also possessed geographical or historical ties to our region," said Empire Director of Operations Ryan Eucker. "With the selection of Empire and the logos we were able to develop, we feel like we hit the spike right on the head."
Team colors will consist of coal black, silver smoke, and engine orange. Orange will be the lone continuation of the organization's former jersey combination (navy, orange, and yellow). The silver smoke (grey) also serves as a tribute to the mining history of the region that also had strong ties with the railroad.
The organization opened a "Name the Team" contest in early November and received over 400 unique submissions from fans. The front office then went through a process of elimination based off trademark availability, suitability, and correlation to goals they hoped to satisfy in a final selection.
The team will release their 2016 uniforms and helmet designs in the coming weeks.
"We'd like to thank everyone who submitted suggestions and participated in the process," said Eucker. "We had an overwhelming amount of support from our sponsors, community partners, and fans. This process would not have gone as smoothly as it did in such a short amount of time without them."
As a part of the "Name the Team" contest, the three fans that submitted the top three name finalists received 2016 Season Tickets.
The Spokane Empire will kick off their 2016 regular season on the road against the Tri-Cities Fever on Saturday, February 20at the Toyota Center in Kennewick with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. The Empire will return to Spokane Arena the following weekend for their home opener on Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. against the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.
"We have greatly enjoyed ten seasons of incredible football at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena," said Venue General Manager Matt Gibson. "To say that we're excited about the future of this new brand is an understatement. This February is going to be one to remember with the home opener of the Spokane Empire!"