Posted: Tuesday, September 11th 2012 at 1:32pm
Silverbacks to allow fans to choose club nickname
The Atlanta Silverbacks are taking their next big decision to the people. The organization announced Tuesday the launch of their "Decision 2012: Silverbacks or Chiefs" campaign, which will give their fans and others in the community the opportunity to decide the team’s name for the future.
The unique campaign will feature three voting options: keep the current team name, bring back the name of the city’s first ever professional team, the Atlanta Chiefs, or write in a team name of their own.
“Being community and fan-oriented is very important to our organization,” said Silverbacks Chairman Boris Jerkunica. “We want the community to have a stake in where we’re going as a club, so we’re excited to give them a voice and let them be a part of a decision that fans normally wouldn’t be able to make.”
Beginning on Tuesday and running through Nov. 6, the same day as the U.S. Presidential Election, the general public will be able to place their vote for next year’s team name. Ballots will be available online at atlantasilverbacks.com and at various events including the final two Silverbacks home games (Sept. 15 and 19).
A mobile promotional team will also be visiting select festivals, bars, restaurants, soccer fields and other establishments throughout the campaign to make voting available to a wide variety of neighborhoods in Greater Atlanta. Dates, times, and locations will be posted on the team’s website throughout the campaign.
For voters, the campaign will also represent a chance to win prizes. One lucky fan will win a trip for two to New York City to accompany the team as they go to play their first game against the newly-added New York Cosmos next season. Additionally, five lucky voters will be randomly selected as winners of a team-signed jersey.
As part of the campaign’s kickoff this week, Silverbacks Team Advisor and former Interim Head Coach Eric Wynalda will be featured on 11-Alive’s “Atlanta and Company” on Wednesday. The former U.S. national team star will talk about the campaign, the current team, and more.
“We want to be more engaged with the community and that starts with this campaign,” said Silverbacks General Manager Andy Smith. “We think this will be a fun way to get more people involved with professional soccer here in Atlanta and ultimately grow our fan base.”
The Silverbacks currently compete in the North American Soccer League (NASL), a league that was re-launched in 2011. The franchise is in the midst of their 13th season as Atlanta’s professional soccer team. Starting in 1968, The Chiefs competed in the original NASL, taking home the league’s inaugural championship. The team’s 1968 title was the first for an Atlanta professional sports team.
The NASL currently houses three teams playing under their original NASL names: Tampa Bay Rowdies, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and the Cosmos (to join league next season). Should the fans vote to bring back the Chiefs, there would be four original NASL names in the league.
The “Decision 2012” campaign isn’t the first time the current Silverbacks have allowed their fans to make a major decision. The team’s uniforms this season were designed by Adrian Portillo, a fan that won the Silverbacks Uniform Design Contest in 2011.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS
-- Founded in 1967
-- Original members of the North American Soccer League (NASL)
-- Won the inaugural NASL Championship in 1968
-- Phil Woosnam, the first Chiefs head coach, became NASL Commissioner and U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach in 1968
-- Played games at Fulton County Stadium
-- Ted Turner is a former Chiefs Co-Owner.
ABOUT THE SILVERBACKS
-- Founded in 1998
-- Named after Famous Zoo Atlanta gorilla “Willie B”
-- Currently plays games at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, a 5,000-seat stadium near Spaghetti Junction
-- Runners-up in the 2007 USL Championship Game
-- Joined the new incarnation of the NASL in 2011
-- Named U.S. Soccer legend Eric Wynalda to staff in 2012
-- Currently rank second in the league in average attendance
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