Thursday, April 14, 2016

More Details On The Austin Huns Going Pro

The Austin Huns made waves recently when they announced that they were going professional. Many fans were wondering what exactly that meant so we reached out to club administrator Thierry Daupin to find out more.

TIAR: Many people have different ideas by what is meant by going professional. What does it mean in the Huns case?

  1. In the Huns case, going professional means not only have a team but create a professional structure for the long term. By structure, we are talking about:
  2. a stadium where we can create an atmosphere for the fans and attract new people to our sport and of course create revenue stream to be able to pay the players, coaches and marketing to build a great show.
  3. A professional facility, a home for the players to be able to focus and train everyday. We are working with the Racing and we will duplicate in Austin their training facility. It's the state of the art of rugby training center right now and we are very excited to build the same one here.
  4. An academy, we believe in club structure and we do strongly believe that we need to create a development squad to build the future of the club and it needs to start early. Our academy will be also the mirror of the Racing Academy in France.
  5. the players and coaches need to be able to focus on their job and we believe that we need to pay them enough so they can focus on Rugby, not for 3 months but for a full season (8-10 months)

Take the jump to read more.
TIAR: Does this mean the Huns are looking to join PRO Rugby in the future?

Right now, we don't think that Pro Rugby wants to add clubs in their format, we are totally open to discuss with them and find a way to work together, we will have a full dedicated modern complex for Rugby with 10,000 seats (we will build by phases) and I think they really need to find stadiums to grow their league (and create revenues). If they want to work with us... great. If not we are already working with clubs and others leagues for options... and there are different options.

TIAR: What are your plans for your future facility?

The plan is to develop by phases, we are hoping to have 5,000 seats for March 2017. the idea is not just having bleachers, hospitality is key and we are already working with partners to create something very special to be different, Technology is key and be able to be in Austin gives us huge opportunity to develop more than a stadium but a Lab to test new technology for the fan experience. It's also very important to keep the heritage and the roots of Austin and Rugby so we want a place that can fit in the ecosystem of the city.

By Rugby heritage, we want a place where the old boys and family can appropriate this place for themselves too.

TIAR:  How did the partnership with Todd Clever come about?

When we started to develop the project, we really wanted to have the rugby experts with us, for the credibility and make sure that we will do it the right way. It was obvious that the icon of the sport for the last 10 years was the USA Captain and we contacted him, explained what we were planning, we told him about the long run and not trying to do a one shot, we talked about the team philosophy and the long term development with the complex.

Todd dedicated all his life to the US jersey and he really wants to give back so much to the rugby community, his goal is to grow the sport here as much as he can. We couldn't dream about a better ambassador.

TIAR: What else would you like people to know about the Huns transition to a professional set-up?

I will prefer to use the word continuity. Huns are just moving forward by going to the next step, thanks to the generations before. Now for me, the future is the youth, the biggest effort for us in the future is to develop a strong youth base so we can bring more people to the sport and in the stadiums (and pay the pro players).

My main focus will be to develop a strong relationship with the non profit association so they will have all the tools to bring more kids at training. Our goal is to have 600 kids at training in 2018. Without the youth and the family coming to the games we can't grow the fan base..

We will focus on growing our fan base, we are already lucky to have strong fan base (certain games we already have 2000 spectators) by developing the youth and reach the community, we believe that we can triple this number. But we need to make sure that we communicate the right values of our sport and give them the best experience. We want to transform fan to fanatics (of rugby) :).

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