St. Louis BattleHawks owner Kurt Hunzeker

St. Louis BattleHawks Team President, Kurt Hunzeker interview

  • Kurt Hunzeker
  • St. Louis BattleHawks
  • XFL
By BenWielgos March 3, 2020 0 Comment
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The St. Louis BattleHawks has been one of the top teams in the XFL, and I sat down with their Team President, Kurt Hunzeker, for an interview.

The St. Louis BattleHawks has been a smashing hit in their home city. They were selling out their home field for the first two games, as well as having a large social media following. I recently attended a panel of the BattleHawks front office, and afterward, I was able to interview Team President, Kurt Hunzeker.

Before I go into the interview, there were a lot of great tidbits from the panel. The essential part to most fans was that Hunzeker and Head of Ticket Sales, Andrew Myer, stated that the Upper Bowl would be opened for Home Game 3 (Week 7) against the Los Angeles Wildcats if the rest of the Dome sells out although tickets won’t be at a super cheap price point. Hunzeker stated that “The math wouldn’t work out to have $10 seats in the Upper Bowl. It would be a money loser. The Upper Bowl tickets at the 50 yard-line would be pricier than Tier 5 tickets. And we would only start opening the Upper Bowl with the 50 yard-line section.”

Also, some interesting points were made about the XFL’s TV partnerships. Hunzeker emphasized how Disney and Fox have been the perfect partners and how the XFL has been trying to be a “yes-man.” He said that it was the TV companies’ idea to have the Live Mics on the players, coaches, and sideline, not the XFL’s.

The panel was a very cool experience, and I learned quite a bit about the inner workings of the St. Louis BattleHawks on the business side. But the best part of the afternoon was getting a chance to interview Team President, Kurt Hunzeker.

Q-Our founder launched our website shortly after Vince McMahon’s initial announcement. My first article that I wrote on the XFL was eight months ago about Connor Cook attending the Summer Showcases. It’s been a very long road since the announcement, have you ever taken any time to reflect to think how crazy it is that we have gotten this far?

Hunzeker– “It’s funny that you say that, because Commissioner Luck keeps telling all of us to, during the games, always take a step back to look at the smiles on people’s faces, look at the friends and family coming together. And then, I definitely did that on Sunday. [Commissioner Luck] was there, so he kept [asking] me, each time he walked up to me, “Have you stepped back?” He wanted to make sure that we [enjoyed] the experience. I certainly didn’t watch a lot of the game, but the fact that the St. Louis community was so receptive to what we have been doing, and being co-authors of this great story, has been a lot of fun to witness first-hand.”

Q-Kenny Robinson, the safety from West Virginia University, is a special case [Forgoing his final two years of college eligibility and signing with the XFL to provide for his family]. Obviously, that is something the XFL can offer to players that the NFL can’t. Some fans have even been calling for Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence to join the XFL, although that is highly unrealistic. How important do you think that model could be to the league’s success in year 2, 3, and 4 down the road?

Hunzeker– “It certainly could be. The fact that it is an opportunity for college players to gain more film as they prepare for the NFL combine. I mean, Kenny is eligible for the NFL Draft, and I would love a scenario where he gets drafted, and a couple of days later, he wins a Championship. I think that is what we are all hoping for, and clearly what we all want. But it is a unique case study, on draft day, when we selected him, I mean he is an outstanding talent. This has allowed him to learn under Coach Hayes and the other coaches, as well as mature as a man, person, and football player. That interception on Sunday was something else and shows that, on the field, he is an exceptional talent. And we are so excited that he has this opportunity to improve as a person, while also improving as a player for the next level.”

Q– With Team 9, the players can go down there and continue to practice. [Former BattleHawks Quarterback] Brogan Roback is there right now and has been going in between them and Dallas. What are the logistics of it exactly? Can you take a player off Team 9, and then assign a player yourself? Or does Team 9 act as a separate entity and are responsible for signing their own players?

Hunzeker– “The second. So if we release a player, he can be picked up by Team 9. Like Brogan, or Connor [Davis] was. All the guys on the cusp of making the team still get an opportunity to play, which is what the XFL is all about. But we can sign players that aren’t on Team 9 as well. More likely than not, you’re going to pull someone off Team 9 because you know they have been training, they are conditioned well. They have basically been learning all the base packages of plays, so it should be a very small learning curve for them. Then when guys do get pulled to a team, they still could go back down, like Brogan has. This way, they are still in the fold; they are still in the XFL.”

Q- Recently, Seattle and Houston have announced season ticket packages for their final three games, with the lowest price being $60. Are there any plans to do that here in St. Louis?

Hunzeker– “We have been doing that, after the first game we now have a four-game package. Even if you want a more affordable ticket, that might be available for three games, you can still buy a single-game ticket that could be in a different tier. Maybe you are buying a Tier 4 season ticket, and then if you want to go to this week’s game, then you can buy whatever is available in Tier 1 and 2. Those options are always available, but once our inventory is depleted, [it’s gone]. 41% of our tickets are in the two most affordable tiers, under $30. With price lock for next season as well, and that is another key thing. So the price lock would still be in place for the three-game season tickets if you bought them now.”

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