January 18, 2018 by Steve Sullivan in News with 0 comments
After a successful inaugural tour in 2017, the EuroStars announced today that they will return to the US each of the next three summers — and be hosted by the AUDL.
The newly renamed “Americus Pro Cup” will see a team of European-based female all-stars travel to the US each summer through 2020 for a series of exhibition games against North American competition.
Through the partnership, the EuroStars retain control of operating the Tour but will receive logistical and marketing support from the AUDL. Tour games will run as their own entity, separate from AUDL games, but will be hosted by AUDL teams whenever possible.1 Like last year, Eurostar games will be played under the WFDF rule set without observers and with a European-style focus on Spirit. Also, they will be played on WFDF-sized fields as opposed to adopting AUDL standards.
As hosts, the AUDL has committed to supporting the Tour with logistics including marketing and stadium staff, as well as showcasing one of the games in 2018 as part of the AUDL’s national TV contract and livestreaming the others. This commitment is in line with the gender equity plan the league laid out in a letter to players this past December.
The Eurostars have yet to announce specific opponents and it is unclear if the Tour will include existing women’s club teams. Tour organizers say they are still working out the details such as dates and locations, but that discussions with female clubs and players have been ongoing.
The Eurostars retain full ownership of the Tour and will keep 100% of the revenue generated at the gate for their events. Teams will receive a lump sum for participating and compete for a cash prize at each leg. Both the Tour and the league says the focus — especially in the first year — is to break even and find a sustainable way to put on the games and increase media outreach without crowdfunding.
The Tour lists a series of goals for this partnership, including promoting the visibility of top female players from both Europe and North America. Still, Tour organizer Rebecca Forth acknowledges the complexity of partnering with a league that is currently a target of gender equity focused protest, but states that the AUDL are “a supportive partner of our goals and plans.”
“We understand the complexities of the issues involved, and the range of opinions in circulation as to the best approaches to achieving gender equity,” Forth writes. “We believe [partnering with the AUDL] will allow us to maximize our contribution to the gender equity effort…We hope that our positive messages will resonate with some of you, and that you will join us to help build something of which we can all be proud.”
“The goal of our participation in the Tour is to provide resources in the form of dollars, equipment, marketing, game day expertise, etc.,” says AUDL Vice President of Marketing Tim DeByl. “This is an opportunity for us to see if we can help create a sustainable Tour, and will obviously help us make future decisions about the direction of the AUDL.”
**The article has been updated to reflect additional information shared by Tour organizers after initial publication.***
For their part, the AUDL says the intent is to run these games in AUDL cities, but are keeping open the possibility of doing games in non-AUDL cities. ↩