Rebrand: Columbus Eagles FC, the women’s soccer club in central Ohio

Columbus Eagles Football Club Case Study

One of Foxli’s major success stories is its relationship with Columbus Eagles FC, the women’s soccer club in Columbus, Ohio, the city Foxli ltd. calls home.

In 2018, the Eagles, founded four years earlier, were in the midst of a rebirth. The club had its best-ever team on the pitch, finally challenging for the Great Lakes region of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). The team played exciting soccer on the field and the organization around the players was as strong as the on-field product.

Foxli’s founders – former Eagles midfielder Larissa Najjar and Grant Burkhardt, the broadcaster and marketing director of the club – took on the task of rebranding the team from the ground up. The original logo and branding design wasn’t bad, but it needed some modernization to help the club reach new heights. And here’s what Foxli’s founders know: A rebrand can be a refresh in every possible way. A new logo means new merchandise, new jerseys means a new revenue stream, fresh clean colors means a better-looking stadium atmosphere and more repeat season ticket holders.

The start – fonts, colors, and the basics

So, the two set out to make those changes, one-by-one, over the fall of 2018. First came a standardization of the team’s strong colors – black (#000) and white (#fff) were easy ones, but the gold was the important one. The team had used a couple different golds in their history, and with MLS’s Columbus Crew just down the road using a similar black and yellow color scheme, getting the gold right was essential.

Foxli decided to go with a smoother yellow (#fecd08) to stay related to the Crew’s more neon gold but to make sure it was seen as uniquely Eagles. After that, club fonts were picked, and the style guide was finalized.

The big step – the logo and image

Next came the crest and logo, which was the start of the real work. The club needed a true symbol of strength, poise, and grace, and the Foxli team came up with the very proud Eagle that adorns the club crest to this day.

Columbus Eagles FC's crest, designed locally by Foxli ltd.
The Columbus Eagles crest, in front of the club’s home city. | CEFC

The crest shows those colors and fonts, which are unique in Columbus soccer history. The three bars in the top right of the crest denote the club’s mission words – Family. Community. Soccer. The crest would feature on everything for the club going forward, and still does.

The essential work – the website overhaul

After the crest, Foxli redesigned the team’s website and launched the new brand in the fall of 2018 right at the time the Eagles were going to start selling season tickets for the following WPSL season. It turned out to be the right timing, as the club smashed its season ticket membership record in 2019 by more than 500%.

With the growing buzz around the club, especially during the high-intensity period that was the #SaveTheCrew movement, Foxli pushed for new merchandise and the club’s first-ever custom jersey. Soccer supporters wanted local gear and a team that cared about the city, and the Eagles were just that. Foxli designed t-shirts, scarves, sweatshirts, joggers, stickers, hats, and more that flew off the eCommerce shelves, shattering the club’s previous merchandise revenue records by more than 1,000%.

The final piece – custom soccer jerseys

Social media buzz was huge around the club at the turn of the year and the custom kits, which Foxli designed for the 2019 season, came next. Foxli always aims for uniqueness, and with the rare task of being able to design the first custom kits in club history, we took extra care to get it right. That’s when the club’s dot pattern came to be.

The new kits were a revelation. The club’s jersey launch party came in partnership with Endeavor Brewing Company in Grandview Heights, where the club’s supporters could have a few beers, interact with the team, and purchase the new kits, and plenty of those supporters did just that. It was the thing the club needed – a community who cared, and an organization that clearly came to supply fresh new things for those people who showed up to support the club.

Two years later, the club still wears those dots, that crest, those colors, with pride. The financial impact was large – more merchandise was purchased in the first year of the new crest than had been bought in the first four years of the club combined. The new colors and crest, coupled with terrific photography from a few of the club’s photographers, made for a bright and vibrant website where people could buy tickets, read about the team, and feel connected to the club. The club forged new corporate partnerships, and the future continues to be bright for the Eagles as they enter their 8th season in 2022.

Columbus Eagles FC goalkeeper and away kits, designed locally by Foxli
Columbus Eagles FC goalkeeper and away kits, designed locally by Foxli

The long-term impact on the soccer club

Foxli designed similar kits in 2020 when the Eagles partnered with Errea to be its kitmaker and apparel provider. The main design stayed roughly intact – the dots are the future of all Eagles home kits, as Foxli wanted a design element to stay steady, like FC Barcelona‘s red and blue vertical stripes, Croatia’s checkered design, Sampdoria’s red/black/white/blue strip, or Celtic’s green and white hoops.

With the success of the first run in mind, Foxli is designing the Eagles’ next custom home kit for 2022, and we have some exciting updates in store for the club. The Eagles growth feels like our growth – we aspire to be part of global women’s soccer’s rocket rise to be as popular as anyone can imagine.

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