Jacksonville, Fla. April 30, 2014 – Visit Jacksonville has entered into a marketing partnership with the Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League team to provide marketing and promotional support for the 2014 USA Rugby League Championship Game that takes place Saturday, Aug. 23 at the University of North Florida (UNF).
This will be the first time Jacksonville has been selected as host city for the championship game
.By hosting the rugby championship, Visit Jacksonville President and CEO Paul Astleford says the Axemen are helping to introduce the city to a new legion of visitors – and spreading the word about what Jacksonville has to offer when it comes to tourism opportunities.
“Sporting events like this attract not only the fans, but also the friends and family members of the competitors to visit the city, which can have a broad economic impact for many businesses in the Jacksonville area,” Astleford said. “Also, while the beaches hotels are busy throughout the summer months, our other hotels experience a seasonal slowdown through September. Holding a championship like this in August will directly benefit many of our select service hotels, which are typically the favored lodging choice for attendees of these types of events.”
Daryl “Spinner” Howland, the co-owner and founder of the Southeastern Rugby League LLC and director of the USA Rugby League South Conference, says the team is “ecstatic” about receiving Visit Jacksonville’s support.
“This partnership will help us reach a wider audience outside Northeast Florida and attract more attendance to the championship game,” Howland said. “We expect this partnership will allow the Axemen to create another incredible sporting event for the City of Jacksonville.”
Howland says the Axemen are continuing to work with a variety of hotels and local attractions to create discounts and packages to encourage visitors to stay for the weekend or for the entire week in Jacksonville on the lead-up to the championship game.
“The championship games have attracted about 2,000 in other cities, and we hope to triple that figure this year and also attract more international visitors to attend,” Howland said.
The championship game will be one of the first events held at the upgraded soccer field at UNF. The current practice soccer field is currently undergoing some upgrades that include bleacher seating, along with the installation of a new scoreboard and sound system. Howland says the venue will provide fans a very intimate event experience due to the closeness of the seating to the actual playing field.
The teams will be determined after the south conference and north conference championships take place on Aug. 2 and Aug. 9, respectively. The 2014 preseason begins on May 10, and the regular season starts on May 31.
The Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League team was founded in 2006 by former USA International Player Daryl “Spinner” Howland and General Manager Drew Slover as an expansion team in the National Rugby League Competition. Since its beginning, the team has developed into one of the most successful rugby league football clubs in the United States. The Axemen advanced to the playoffs seven of the last eight years and appeared in the National Championship in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. They won the trophy in 2010 and 2012 with undefeated records for both seasons. The Axemen also hold an undefeated regular season home game record that dates back to 2008.
About Visit Jacksonville
Visit Jacksonville is the marketing organization contracted by the Duval County Tourist Development Council (TDC) to champion the growth of business and leisure tourism in Northeast Florida. Along with its nearly 400 tourism partners, Visit Jacksonville stimulates economic impact, quality of life and recognition for the Northeast Florida region. For a closer look at all there is to see and do in Jacksonville, go to www.VisitJacksonville.com or contact 800-733-2668.