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.
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.
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
Tags: Central Florida Zoo, Chitwan International Elephant Festival, Chris Hurn, Citrus Bowl, Commercial property loans, commercial real estate finance, Elephant, Elephant Football League, elephant soccer, India, Mercantile Capital Corporation, Nepal, SBA 504 Expert, SBA 504 Lender, SBA 504 Loan, SBA financing, small business financing, Thailand