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05 / 2022

The VIENNA VIKINGS are looking forward to the start of the ELF 2022 season

June 2022 marks the start of a new era of American Football in Austria

The Vienna Vikings franchise model, which was launched in September 2021, is about to embark on a premiere season of a very special kind: in the fast-growing sport of American football, the kick-off for the European League of Football 2022, the "Champions League" in American football in Europe, is coming up on June 4th. As one of twelve teams from five nations, the Vienna Vikings, Vienna's No. 1 in football, will be at the start of Europe's top league of American football.
A Quantum of Solace

The home games will be played in the Generali Arena, where up to 17,500 spectators will have the chance to watch the games against the top teams from Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Istanbul, Innsbruck, Wroclaw and Barcelona.

Since September 2021, some important preliminary work has already been successfully completed. After the clear separation of tasks between the ELF franchise in form of a GmbH (limited liability company) and the "Vienna Vikings" club (association), which will continue to take care of the AFL team, the entire junior staff, the cheerleaders and flag footballers, was completed, the intensive search for investors began in order to create the economic basis for this new model. The first shareholders were found in time for the start of the season. With US lawyer and entrepreneur Robin Lumsden, entrepreneur Constantin Burkheiser and the MK Consulting GmbH the first partners were presented on May 12th 2022 in a press conference.

The new investors want to support the Vikings' professionalization push on all levels - from sporting success to show and entertainment at home games to close networking between sports and entrepreneurship, with professional structures and strong partners from the business world - with the aim of establishing the Vikings at the top of professional American football in Europe in the long term.

"In addition to the sporting challenges, the economic challenges for our young franchise are of course enormous - especially in its first year in the league. That's why we are pleased and proud to welcome Robin Lumsden, Constantin Burkheiser and Markus Kraetschmer, three heavyweights, as shareholders in our ranks," Karl Wurm, CEO of the Vienna Vikings franchise, is also pleased about the announcement of the co-owners, who have already been displaying know-how, commitment and networking contacts behind the scenes for several months. "That our sporting goals are lofty, no secret is made of that. We Vikings want to be the Team To Beat. This ambitious goal is perfectly clear to every player, every coach."

Patrick Esume, a German American football coach, former player and one of the main initiators of the European League of Football (ELF), in which he serves as commissioner gave birth to the idea for the ELF five years ago; the league then became a reality in 2021. "The first motivation was always my passion for the sport, the plan for the league and the implementation as a business model all build on that. American football is the greatest sport on the planet and with the ELF it should finally get the stage it deserves," says Patrick Esume.

The Vienna Vikings join the European league in its second year, but have long been an absolute cornerstone of American football in Europe. Vienna, with its central location in Europe, is also important for the future of the ELF. "It was clear that a successful European League of Football must be built on three building blocks: it must be pan-European, have Champions League character and be truly competitive. I am confident that through the ELF, American football will be firmly anchored in Europe in four to five years. I see the Vienna Vikings among the favorites already in the first year," Esume continued.

The franchise system of the European League of Football is not only intended to provide security and predictability for the teams and form a self-contained circle, but also to bring reliability to partners and investors. In the long term, 24 teams from ten to twelve nations are to play in the ELF. "American soccer is already the number 2 sport in Europe behind soccer," concludes Patrick Esume. Starting this season, the national TV partner PULS4 will broadcast the games of the European League of Football live every weekend on free TV. This partnership is essential and important to establish a successful professional league in Europe and to offer the sport and players the appropriate stage. From 2023 onwards, Milan (Italy), Zurich (Switzerland) and Szekesfehervar (Hungary) will join 3 more franchises from 3 new countries the ELF.

Co-Investor Robin Lumsden said on behalf of the new shareholders of Vienna Vikings ELF-GmbH "Football is THE prime example of the American performance culture - in sports as well as in the interaction with entrepreneurs and investors! Physical fitness, clever strategy and the unconditional will to perform are essential keys to success - in football as well as in successful management. Or even in the innovative and future-oriented management of a successful franchise like the Vikings are. As part of my support for this terrific club, I plan to contribute my relevant know-how and my international network to help the Vikings take important steps towards further professionalization."

16.05.2022 - MK Consuling GmbH
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