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MAJOR Announcement from Mercantile Capital Corporation…
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Today we’re releasing some major news … something we’ve kept under-the-radar screen since last year when I visited Nepal.

Read the full release below, leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts, and stay tuned for further details on this.

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News Release (with photos)

Mercantile Capital Corporation Announces Participation in
Elephant Soccer League

Altamonte Springs, Fla.,Mercantile Capital Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Old Florida National Bank, has announced it will be a founding sponsor of the newly formed Elephant Football League (EFL) and field a team in Central Florida, the Orlando Rumble.

Noted for his love of football (known to most Americans as “soccer”), serial entrepreneur and Mercantile CEO, Chris Hurn, has recently become involved in one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide. “Near the end of last year, I got really fascinated with the idea of elephant soccer and took a trip to Nepal to see it firsthand,” said Hurn. His visit to Chitwan, Nepal, coincided with the 2010 Chitwan International Elephant Festival, which Mercantile also sponsored.

Upon returning from Nepal, Hurn formed the beginnings of the EFL by meeting with various investors and organizations throughout Florida. Hurn, also the CEO of Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club, will be the EFL’s first Commissioner and is currently securing league sponsors while also finalizing teams, facilities, and schedules.

In the past month, tryouts were held in Orlando, Florida, and several practices have also occurred. Hurn said, “We have six teams almost filled out, and we’re starting to get some traction in the pachyderm athletic community.” The initial teams will be in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Pensacola and Tallahassee.  Florida’s sub-tropical climate has been deemed ideal for these competing elephants by the originators of the sport in India and Thailand.

One benefit of this fledgling sport is the attention it brings to the care and proper treatment of elephants. Hurn touts the professional and humane treatment of the gentle giants by pointing to his priority of only working with elephant specialists. “We’re really lucky to have both the Central Florida Zoo and Disney’s Animal Kingdom so close by,” says Hurn. “They have a top-notch, nationally renowned crew of elephant trainers, and they’ve played a large part in shaping our policies toward our treatment of these wonderful creatures,” he added.

While the EFL is still several months away from holding actual elephant football matches, various sources have indicated talks are on-going between Hurn and News Corp executive, James Murdoch, the son of billionaire, Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch has been named the successor to his father’s media empire and may be looking to make a splash with this burgeoning sport. Hurn wouldn’t confirm these discussions, but did add, “Coverage of elephant football would likely be very profitable and relatively easy for News Corp to add to their stable of soccer-oriented television channels.”

Hurn said he hopes to hold the first EFL match sometime in the fourth quarter of 2011. “Before the year is out, we’ll have the inaugural match between the Orlando Rumble and Tampa Gray,” he said, “and you’ll see a league cup, ‘The Mercantile 504 Pachyderm Cup’ presented to the inaugural league champion.”

Currently in discussions with Florida Citrus Sports to host these matches at the Citrus Bowl, Mr. Hurn confirmed that he’s received some pushback due to the artificial turf that was installed on the field last year. According to Hurn, “I’m confident we’ll be able to make this work. Everyone loves elephants and Americans, especially here in Florida, are hungry for great family-friendly entertainment. Adding these mammals to the sport really makes it more appealing to the casual American sportsfan — just wait until you witness elephants playing soccer! There’s nothing quite like it.”

More information about the EFL can be found at www.ElephantSoccer.com.

Chitwan Welcome Banner

EFL Logo

Action at an early EFL practice.

Nikos with elephants

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For more information about this press release, contact:

Chris Hurn, Mercantile Capital Corporation, ChrisHurn@MercantileCC.com, 407-786-5040

Robin Lashley, Mercantile Capital Corporation, RLashley@MercantileCC.com, 407-786-5040

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33 Comments

  1. John Reichard says:

    Nice April Fools Chris and a great marketing bit.

  2. Mike Peter says:

    You can always count on someone to remind us that today is April 1st!

  3. tom omara says:

    Congrats……………love the game.

    Maybe, Chris, you can help out a client. We are looking for $5,700,000 to complete a project in Orlando……..There is a 15% coupon for a ten year note.

    This would complete 18% of the financing of the project in Orlando — and cover the cost of construction for a tip up building, etc.

    Call if you can help: 651-270-0735

  4. Thad Winston says:

    Hmmm…would it be appropriate to say this is a BIG idea? Some would even say that this BIG idea has been hidden in the TRUNK for some time. I think that the world would have BIG EARS for really cool stuff like this. Imagine the fun of walking the fields to help clear the dung like they do in polo… Plus, when the crowd gathers they could sit and watch and get a hair cut by the professionals at http://www.kennedysbarberclub.com/. The possibilities are endless. Not to mention this won’t be small PEANUTS as far as success. Kudos. This could not be better TIMING my friend. 🙂

    • Chris Hurn says:

      I’ll take these suggestions under advisement. Thanks, Thad. I was thinking free car-washes post-game and having multiple peanut-themed snacks. Oh, and we’re working with Disney (still) on getting Dumbo to be the Orlando Rumble’s mascot.

  5. Tim Souther says:

    Good one! Very creative.

  6. Richard Reyes says:

    You know I love soccer like you, however, if you are really into throwing your money away there is a local professional team you can sponsor right here is Orlando.

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Now, that’s not very nice, Richard. 🙂

  7. Mahesh Grossman says:

    Took me a minute to get this. Didn’t understand why you went to Nepal and came back to America to start a soccer league. I figured elephant soccer league was just a name, not a description. Then the light bulb went off.

    This is great– can’t wait to see a game when I visit my dad. Should make for some wonderful viral Youtube videos and make a difference for our grey wrinkled friends. (Not talking about Dan or Bill here, I swear.)

  8. Lourock says:

    This is FANTASTIC!!! Will there be sponsoring opps. Extreme polo

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Of course — we have much more “square footage,” so to speak on our mammals.

  9. Todd says:

    Har de har. I already fell for one April Fools joke today!

  10. Nathan Chitty says:

    Hi Chris, Elephant soccer. Wow, you do think out of the box.

  11. Mark Schwarz says:

    That is great. Where will you guys hold games. Let me know I can’t wait to check it out.

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Officially at the Citrus bowl. Unofficially, Mark, you’ve been duped. It’s April Fool’s! 🙂

      • Mark Schwarz says:

        YOU GOT ME REALLY GOOD!!!!
        I needed a really good laugh today!!

  12. Eric Peck says:

    Clearly an April Fools Joke!!!

  13. Zenia Birdie says:

    This is probably my fav quote from the press release . . . although it was a tough choice:
    Everyone loves elephants and Americans, especially here in Florida, are hungry for great family-friendly entertainment.

  14. Bob Coleman says:

    Sign Joseph and I up as owners of the Pasadena franchise.

    We can secure rights to the Rose Bowl. (They have an expansive field where they play 8 AYSO matches at a time. I’m sure there would be no problem grabbing one of those fields on a Saturday morning and having EFL games next to U-8 and U-10 games.

    Shouldn’t be too expensive to ship the puppies across country for home and away matches.

    I think it’s a brilliant money making scheme.

    However, I think you may underestimate one line item of costs.

    Have you truly thought out what the cap and trade tax will be on carbon emissions during a match? Could be huge. . . . .

    • Chris Hurn says:

      I appreciate your comments and thoughts. The Pasadena Purple Pachies (or some such name) would make a great expansion club (still in ideal climate there), however we must crawl before we rumble, so to speak.

      We’ve had a crack-team of interns researching the emissions “issue,” but understand that zoos are exempted and the FL Department of Environmental Protection has verbally said we should be alright.

      • Trey Colson says:

        Kudos to Bob for bringing up elephant farts.

  15. D. Ben Flynn says:

    “Chris . . .you never cease to amaze! Best of luck on this unusual venture!”

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Thanks Dr. Ben!

  16. Jonathan Maze says:

    I’m sure that the “Rumble” will run roughshod over the competition in the “Elephant Football League.”

    Good one.

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Our pachyderm athletes and mahouts are better than theirs, but I have to sanitize my comments as the commissioner (a la Bud Selig in MLB and his Brewers).

  17. Bo Burlingham says:

    Your next Inc. 500 company?

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Undoubtably, Bo. 🙂

  18. Keith LaMere says:

    Awesome idea Chris!!!!

    Can we get our logo on the side of one of the big fellas, ya know, like a Nascar sponsorship? 🙂

    Good one, keep em’ coming.

    • Chris Hurn says:

      Absolutely! We can discuss sponsorships — LOTS of billboard space on the big pachyderms.

  19. Steven says:

    Business must be good….or slow Chris; you obviously have too much time on your hands.

    • Chris Hurn says:

      No, Steven, there’s NEVER enough time, but once a year, we like to play some jokes on folks. Actually, business has never been busier than it is now, but when we put our minds to something, we go all out and try to excell. Hopefully, you accomplished that again with this year’s prank.

  20. Ira Stern says:

    Chris,
    You may have the makings of something here.
    Ever since I was importing from India and had my Madras delayed due to the famous Elephant strike,Ive been somewhat suspect of the “the pacs” commitment to excellence.
    However, don’t forget, if they do collectively make up their minds, they can do the heavy lifting.
    Remember, Ralph only had a polo pony,not a whole league.

  21. jim says:

    Thanks for the great sights and information

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