The night the team went public was a big deal. Read about the simple announcement and technical difficulties and the late night of answering excited questions and posts.
Once we had the name and the legal organization, it was time to sign and announce the team to the world. In preparation for this, Jeff and his team at The Next Step had come up with a great stylescape. A stylescape is a full view of how a brand looks. Not simply a logo, but a color scheme, a font or two, and initial swag, uniform, and social media designs. In all, a complete look and feel for the team. I took those images and set up our Facebook (facebook.com/ftwpanthers) and Instagram (instagram.com/ftwpanthersfloorball) accounts. We were ready to go!
We decided to do the announcement at Floorball Planet. Floorball Planet had just been announced as the primary sponsor of the league and they were very close to where the NTFA plays league games on Monday nights. We scheduled it for just before league, and I told a handful of players in the league. They were excited enough to come over and support us! We planned to livestream it on the league Facebook page.
You should always test run and practice! We didn't get much chance since we were all delayed by DFW traffic. Ultimately we recorded it and took an extra copy just to make sure we got it right. Then, we uploaded it and broadcast it on social media. Leigh and I were both really excited to receive our owner's credentials from Ryan. It was a nice touch that made it official! (Players get those cards as well.)
Leigh went home and I went over to league, and at the end of the games that night I told the league. There was a lot of genuine excitement and congratulations, and I began to see what a professional league would mean to the players in the community. Everyone wants to get better but we all play this game out of a love for the game. We come into it individually seeing that it might be "kinda different" and most people who do just get hooked. It's simple to play, yet deceptively skilled in its demands. Watching a game played at a high level is similar to seeing a quarterback dropping a football into the outstretch hands of a full speed receiver 50 yards down the field. You can only revel and enjoy the sheer talent involved!
I got home at 10:30, and my phone had been blowing up all the way home. First was the folks in the Central time zone - Chicago, Minneapolis, and other DFW and Austin residents. Then as the clock went on, the Rockies and ultimately California saw it and I had those conversations. Everyone was encouraging and wished that we would be successful. Many people had questions about being owners as well and a few immediately asked me if we would be willing to sell minority stakes! (Maybe later)
But the real surprise came at midnight, just as I was about to call it a night. That's when Europe woke up and started noticing what was going on in the US floorball scene. I was answering IM's and Messenger posts until nearly 2am! But what a great experience - it felt like the entire global floorball community was pulling together for us and wishing us well. I hope we get the rest of the teams filled out and we can really get down to the nuts and bolts of the league - the scheduling and the planning. But for now, the focus here is on the Panthers and building the foundation to be the best that we can be!