One of the main goals of Austin Torch is to set an example for transparency and open dialogue. To that end, we'll be publishing a lot of information about how this team and movement came to be and how it continues to progress and move forward. For now, here are some Frequently Asked Questions to get you started! Have a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Torch FAQ
What is the mission and vision of the team?
The mission of the Austin Torch is to provide Texas women with the opportunity to play professional ultimate. This will include playing in stadiums, in front of crowds, and for pay.
Our vision is to celebrate female athletes at the same level as their male counterparts in the sport of ultimate. We want to show the girls of today that they can be the professional ultimate players of tomorrow by providing opportunities for them to witness games in person and via video recording. We want to exhibit strong women as role models to the Texas ultimate community, including males and females, the young and the old.
The Torch presents a community-oriented solution to one of the greatest deficits in the ultimate world, gender equity, by showing that the Austin community - men, women, youth, club, the Austin Sol, etc. - can creatively work together towards a common goal to address disparities. In light of today’s growing awareness of inequalities, it is important that we generate discussion and work together to overcome unfairness. This is how we achieve progress; not just in ultimate, but in all aspects of life.
Is the Torch affiliated with the Austin Sol?
In short, yes. However, they are two separate entities with separate ownership. To field a professional women’s team in 2018, we are seeking - and receiving - support from the Austin Sol.
Fieldspace: The Austin Sol and Torch will share the field at House Park stadium for two home games. These games will occur in the form of a “doubleheader”, with the Torch playing first and the Sol playing immediately after. Tickets purchased for that day’s Sol game will include admission to the Torch game as well.
Fan base: By their very nature, the Torch and Sol will largely share a fan base. We are partnering with our friends and colleagues invested in the Sol organization, but not necessarily the AUDL as a whole. We want the Sol and Torch to stand together in promoting gender equity in our sport and plan to do this by offering mutual support to each other.
Insurance: The Torch have purchased insurance for the players and coaches thru a private insurance company.
How are the Torch and the Sol sharing profits from the double-header games this season?
The Torch and the Sol owner (Patrick Christmas) - and everyone! - want to get the teams on the best and biggest stage possible, so the games are at House Park in downtown Austin. . . which means it's also expensive. We wanted to keep the calculation and agreement as simple as possible, so here's the plan for the two home games:
TICKETS: The "break even" point for the Sol to cover the costs of a game is approximately 1,000 tickets sold ($7 or so each). Their average over two years for games at House Park has been 897 tickets per game. The theory and hope is that with the additional promotional efforts of the Torch and the excitement around the new team we'll be able to do better than the average for both of our games (May 12th and June 23rd). So we're going to take the average attendance of those two games and Patrick has agreed to put all tickets sold over 900 ticket per game towards the Torch. So if game one does 1,200 total tickets and game two does 900 total tickets, the average is 1,050 tickets. Patrick will then give 150 tickets per game or 300 total x $7 = $2,100 towards the Torch. If the games average less than 900, the Sol will absorb the loss but the Torch won't owe any money. This obviously isn't a sustainable model long term for the Sol (because in this scenario the Sol are guaranteed to take a loss on both games!) but it's a good chance to see what the team can do and add to the attendance, etc.
FOOD: One of the Sol players (Andrew Walch, captain of the team) and Bonesaw built a collapsible booth that will be set up at all of the seven Sol home games this season. Patrick paid for the materials ($190 total) and owns the booth, but several of the Torch "Beacons" (volunteers) painted the booth in Torch colors and a banner with the logo. This year, all food and concessions at all Sol home games, not just the double headers, will be sold by The Torch at the booth! We're responsible for getting the food, fronting the money, etc. We're doing a 90% Torch / 10% Sol split on the profits. The booth also acts as a "Torch HQ" at the games where fans can come learn about the team, donate, buy merchandise, meet some players for photos, etc.
STAFF: Patrick coordinated extending the staffing from the venue for the additional hours (there's not additional fee to the rental, just the staffing) and The Torch will be paying the additional money for that (approximately $240/game). We're also planning to piggy-back on the video coverage the Sol captures at each game by paying the video staff a little extra to shoot our games. We'll be using Bonesaw's brother Hoag to do the game editing rather than paying the Sol video editors. You can see some of the video profiles we've already done here!
Will there be tryouts?
Yes, tryouts will be held Saturday, April 14 from 2-5 PM at Zilker Park. Please fill out our Interest Survey. Please register for tryouts by April 12. The $25 tryout fee will include a Torch reversible.
If you are unable to make the tryout but are interested in being part of the Torch, please fill out the Absentee Application.
Will this affect the women’s turnout in the club season and their ability to play on club teams in Austin this coming season?
No; in the 2018 pilot season, Torch players are committing to a maximum of two home games and one *tentative* away game at the beginning of club season. We are keeping in mind all tryout dates for mixed and women’s club teams and trying to work around any conflicts that are brought to our attention. If you want to be considered for the team but can’t make the tryout, you will be sent an absentee application after filling out the survey and selecting this option.
How much will it cost?
As a professional team, the Torch will pay its players a game salary and cover all player expenses, like travel and equipment. Because of the new nature of the "league," we will also be subsidizing other teams to come to Austin to play our team (May 12 vs. Colombia's Medellin Revolution and June 23 vs. Nashville Nightshade. Estimated overall costs of the team in 2018 are around $20,000.
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER to find out more information on the fun ways we plan to raise this moolah and how YOU can invest in the Torch.
What are the financial resources that will pay the women’s salary and travel?
Our approach to finances will reflect the personality and character of Austin and our community. In other words, we’re going to do things a little differently than the more common Kickstarter or Go Fund Me, and rather focus on more organic methods of raising funds through:
- FUN FUNDRAISERS! Stay tuned for more info on these!
- Contributions & Sponsorships
What rules and field regulations will the games abide by?
We will work with the women’s teams from San Francisco, Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh and other cities to decide on a rule set, field size, refs/observers, etc. We do plan to play timed games rather than to a score. Being one of the first professional women’s ultimates teams means that there are no established rules about what can and cannot be done. We seek to establish rules and guidelines that best suit our philosophy and intentions.
Can I follow you on social media?
Who can I contact for more information?
The Torch Ownership Group consists of Rachel Yeager, Dre Esparza, and Bonesaw Kepner. If you have questions or want to volunteer your services, you can reach them at: email@example.com
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