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Burum named president of Major Arena Soccer League
Jeffrey Burum and his Diversified Pacific team go over plans for new development in the Empire region.

Burum named president of Major Arena Soccer League

And envisions the Inland Empire as the centerpiece for growth and economic development in Southern California.

Jeffrey Burum, one of the Empire region’s foremost entrepreneurs, real estate developers, community leaders, philanthropists, and owner of the Empire Strykers, the Empire’s Arena Soccer team, has been named president of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) by unanimous vote of the team owners in the league.

In a statement issued by the MASL, Burum said, “First of all, I want to thank my fellow owners for having elected me President of the Major Arena Soccer League.  I hope that I meet their expectations and will do everything I can to make this game that I love more popular and this league more successful.  I have the advantage of knowing that this league can be a huge success in broadcasting or streaming and that we can outdraw other major league sports and regularly fill stadiums because we have done it before.  In the mid-1980s the matches were nationally broadcast, and we regularly outdrew other professional teams in the same markets in terms of overall attendance.  Together, as a group of owners, we will see the MASL to that level of success again.”

In a first for the league, Burum will serve as president of the league and of MASL Properties which negotiates national contracts for the league including those for broadcast or streaming.

In the mid-1980s MASL games were broadcast nationally on ESPN, outdrawing the National Hockey League in terms of attracting fans to stadiums.  Now, the league is experiencing a resurgence of popularity and has teams in more than a dozen markets across the United States and Mexico.

Burum and his family became fans of the Strykers several years ago and then in 2015, capitalized on an opportunity to purchase the team and took over operational control in 2020.  During his tenure as owner, the team has experienced consistent success, with multiple playoff experiences, missing out on last season’s postseason by one point. With new coach Paul Wright in place, who has been a champion in this league before, Burum is confident in the team’s trajectory.  During his ownership tenure, Jeff is recognized as a player’s owner, advocating for player safety, pay, and conditions.

“In my experience as a soccer player winning championships at several levels, playing with great players such as the greatest of all time Pele, forming an international representation company for players, and as a broadcaster in my experience in the global world of soccer I have seen extraordinary leaders and I place Jeff Burum in that league of leadership.” said Shep Messing, chairman of the Major Arena Soccer League. “When my trio took over leadership of this league we were getting our arms around a dynamic and diverse group of owners and we had to get them to buy into growing the league and the plans we had – right away we recognized Jeff Burum had the potential to lead and now we have put him in that position and his leadership is invaluable- he has the qualities we need, the energy, passion and financial acumen to do it.  And we thank Jeff for his contributions.”

But the Strykers and MASL are not Burum’s only contributions to soccer in the Empire. In a historic first for the region, international matches between the U.S.A. and Mexico men’s and women’s indoor soccer teams will be played at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California on September 10.  The women will play at 1:00 p.m. and the men will play at 5:00 p.m. In addition, an officially sanctioned U.S.A. Cornhole Tournament is scheduled in conjunction with the matches, with the Cornhole finals planned as the halftime entertainment during the men’s soccer match.

Burum, as owner of the Ontario-based Empire Strykers, is the driving force behind these events.

“Anything that gets the name of our arenas, entertainment venues, and major population centers outside the area is a win for this region,” Jay Prag professor of economics and finance and lead economist of the Drucker School of Management said. “A lot of people who live in Southern California and beyond still have very little idea of what the Empire region is and what it has to offer in terms of the size of its economy and the opportunities that are here.”

Burum’s vision of a vibrant and relevant Inland Empire region extends well beyond indoor soccer. Based in Rancho Cucamonga, his homebuilding and land development company Diversified Pacific, which he founded in 1990, has developed dozens of successful communities throughout the region and is now expanding into the development of luxury apartment properties.

“Some of the largest and most recognized homebuilders have been doing business with Jeff and his team for decades and during that time have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in his developments,” said Carlos Rodriguez, senior vice president for the Building Industry Association of Southern California.  “It is not hyperbole to say that Jeff Burum and Diversified Pacific have been one of the most important development entities in the Empire region for decades and remain so.”

“We’ve experienced tremendous success over the years focusing our attention on developing quality housing in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  With that said, we feel as if we are just now hitting our stride,” said Brian Bush, vice president of acquisitions for Diversified Pacific.

Burum’s efforts to deliver quality housing in the Empire are not limited to market-rate housing.  In 1991, using $18,000 of his own money, Burum co-founded a non-profit housing development firm with his partner Andy Wright, that, in the last 30 years has now acquired and developed more than 10,000 units. Today, National CORE is the third largest nonprofit affordable housing provider in the country approaching $4 billion in assets, all providing shelter to those in need. Associated with National CORE, Burum also co-founded the Hope Through Housing Foundation, a nonprofit that develops and administers a broad range of support programs for children, teens, families, seniors, and residents of the National CORE communities.  To date, the non-profit has served more than 100,000 residents, changing lives in the process.

“When Jeff Burum founded National CORE and Hope through Housing, his goal was to change the lives of society’s most vulnerable,” said James Kemp, son of football legend Jack Kemp and president of the Jack Kemp Foundation. “And for 30 years, he has done just that – creating a sense of community, belonging, and hope for a stronger future for tens of thousands of people. I cannot think of a greater legacy.”

Jeffrey BurumBurum’s career has consistently revolved around the desire and inspiration to grow the presence and vitality of the Empire Region.  No development could be considered more impactful than his acquisition and development of 447 acres in Upland now known as Colonies Crossroads and Colonies at San Antonio.  The development was a result of the entire site being acquired, redesigned, and entitled by Burum and his team, leading to the development of more than 1,100,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, more than 700 detached homes, along with another 400+ apartments and condos built or planned.

Colonies Crossroads, located at the intersection of Campus Avenue and the 210 Freeway is now home to renowned retailers including: Target, Home Depot, Kohls, Albertsons, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Office Depot, PetSmart, Sephora, Old Navy, Tillys, and also home to LA Fitness, Tesla and Ford of Upland.  Restaurants in the shopping center complexes include: Panera Bread, Chili’s, Oggi’s Brewhouse, Chipotle, Starbucks, California Fish Grill, Chick-fil-A, and Heights Restaurant, just to name a few.  Crossroads is the Inland Empire’s most easily accessible, one-stop shopping destination.

“This project was a lifeline for the city financially, a premier shopping center that has generated an enormous amount of tax revenue,” said Bill Velto, Mayor of Upland. “Jeff Burum has been successful not only with this project, but others in the city and the Empire Region by raising the bar and building projects to a standard that many developers are not capable of or frankly willing to do – Jeff Burum is building the next generation of the Empire Region.”

The City of Ontario also believes in Burum’s ability to build the next generation of the Empire Region, with a development planned that will rival his efforts at the Colonies.  Working in partnership with the city, Burum, and his team are in the midst of a design and planning process for a luxury hotel to be developed as a centerpiece of the City’s vision to become the economic and entertainment heart of the Inland Empire. Central to this vision is a new world-class hotel, a $400 million renovation of the Ontario Convention Center, a new international terminal at the Ontario International Airport, and an LA live-type entertainment district at the Toyota Arena, also in the City of Ontario.

Burum and his team have teamed with the LA office of the world-renowned architecture, design, and planning firm Gensler, to design a resort hotel that will include up to 600 rooms, a resort pool and spa, multiple world-class restaurants, a community plaza, and many more high-end amenities.

Strategically located adjacent to the Ontario Convention Center and the Ontario International Airport, this hotel will offer world-class amenities to travelers, businesses, and residents.  This world class hotel will encapsulate the City’s vision for Ontario and the Inland Empire by delivering high-end amenities in this full service, luxury resort and spa.  The hotel will cater to the expanding convention center visitors and airline travelers and will also become the focal point in the region, drawing residents from all areas of the Empire and beyond.

“With Ontario being the premier city in the Inland Empire, we need the highest amenities for our residents and visitors,” Ontario Mayor Paul Leon said. “There is no five-diamond hotel anywhere in our metropolitan area, therefore, as a premier city with premier amenities, the next asset will be a five-diamond hotel. And if you’re going to be the best of the best at what you do, you need the best of the best who does what they do and that is Jeff Burum. My confidence in him delivering on a spectacular project that we need, Jeff is unequivocally the best choice to bring it.”

In 2008, during the national real estate market collapse, Burum formed Diversified Pacific Opportunity Fund I, LLC, a private real estate fund that attracted nearly 200 accredited investors. The Fund emerged with more than $67 million in private capital for investment. The Fund targeted undervalued residential and commercial properties to acquire, entitle, develop, and sell.  The Fund currently owns and manages more than $100 million in real estate assets, all debt free. The current portfolio is comprised of more than 3,900 residential lots and more than 20 acres of commercial land located primarily in the Inland Empire region of Southern California. The majority of the assets held by the Fund are expected to be under contract and in development in short order. The Fund anticipates a wind-down in 2024.

“Having one person with a vision and the means to implement it can change things forever,” said Prag. “Jeff Burum is a change agent for the Empire Region and beyond.”

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