On Sunday September 8, Southeastern Rugby League LLC (SERL), which is the parent company that operates the Jacksonville Axemen, will host a meeting to discuss the expansion and progress of Rugby League in the Southeastern states.
SERL was created by Axemen founders Spinner Howland and Drew Slover in 2006 to operate the Axemen, and to ultimately progress and expand the sport of Rugby League in the Southeastern United States. Over the past three years they have operated minor league teams under the Axemen banner in Jacksonville, Orlando, Daytona and Tampa with the creation of the Southeastern Rugby League Florida Championship. They believe it is now time to look at the options to progress some of those regions to the next level.
“One of the clear goals of SERL has always been to expand and grow the game of Rugby League in our region”, said Spinner Howland. “We chose the name accordingly and it is now time to see if we can help other cities start their own team to compete in the USA Rugby League. The Axemen and our minor league teams are proof that this game can be viable enough to be self supporting, providing the right people come together to form the core of the operation. This meeting will be about sharing our knowledge, the good, bad and ugly of the past 8 years, and to gauge the interest in the cities we have earmarked as potential expansion markets.”
In addition to Daytona, Orlando and Tampa, delegations from Atlanta and South Carolina will attend the meeting to share thoughts, ideas, potential challenges and opportunities in each city.
Slover and Howland will share the model that has made the Axemen a success and touch on a variety of categories that will be needed to operate an expansion team. Everything from advertising and marketing, social media, team travel, venue selection, coaches, import players, sponsorships, and right down to budget line items and unforeseen costs that the Axemen have experienced in the past eight years will be discussed.
Drew Slover noted, “The first thing we need to do is find the right people who can look at a Rugby team in general as a business operation rather than the traditional concept of it being a club of men who just want to play on weekends.”
The meeting will also be attended by a member of the USA Rugby League referees group, so that ideas and pathways to train and prepare more game officials can be created. “There is a lot to cover if you’re going to operate at the top level of Rugby League in the USA”, said Howland. “Referees, venues, team equipment, travel, coaches, players, etc. Then you have just as many items to discuss on how to create revenue streams to cover all those costs. Ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc. and somehow you need to find the balance of making them equal on each side of the budget.”
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