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Ryan Knuppel:

Hey, what’s going on everybody? How are you today? Ryan Knuppel here. Knup’s Sports Show, Episode 141. I cannot believe we are on over 140 shows of this awesome show. Thank you for tuning in today. We have another special guest. As we always do, we like to bring in influencers, people, CEOs, business leaders, thought leaders in sports business. And today we have another special guest with us and I can’t wait to hear his story and hear a lot about what he has going on.

Ryan Knuppel:

So I’m going to bring him on, introduce him to you all, and we’ll go from there. Today, we have Sener Korkusuz with us, the CEO of the A7FL. Sener, thank you for joining me.

Sener Korkusuz:

Thank you, Ryan. Great to be with you.

Ryan Knuppel:

Excited to have you on. I mean, this is a unique format you have here with the A7FL. I can’t wait to dive into it and really hear what it’s all about. But first, tell me a little bit about yourself. Tell me about Sener, and how he got to where he is today.

Sener Korkusuz:

Yeah, thanks. So first off, A7FL, no pads, no helmets, full-contact tackle football. So we all played like this growing up. We played in the backyard. We played on Thanksgiving. We played even in the streets, depending on where you grew up, and it was a game we all loved and remembered.

Sener Korkusuz:

So after I started a tech company, I was looking for my next opportunity. Out of everything I looked at, my old friend, my childhood friend who we used to play this game together had a recreational league organized. Seven on seven, no pads, no helmets. And out of everything I was looking at, this thing struck me like lightning. I said, “This is it. I need to be a part of this. And we’re going to take this to the next level together, make this a major league, a national sport, and eventually, even an international sport.” And the rest has been history. We’re on our way. We’re just now expanding to eight divisions across the country, expanding the East and West Coast.

Ryan Knuppel:

Wow. I mean, that’s quite a story and it’s awesome that you took something that you love and just ran with it and really saw that it could be something. So no pads, no helmets? I mean, sounds like a real man’s game. I mean, it sounds like it could get pretty physical with this sport, huh?

Sener Korkusuz:

Well, this is the American’s favorite sport. So America loves football, most popular sport. Tackle culture, but at the same time, similar to rugby, when you take off the helmets and pads, you actually remove of the player’s invincibility. Their instinct kicks in, and that is to keep their head out of the tackle.

Sener Korkusuz:

I’d even go a step further and say even to a degree safer than rugby, in the fact that that’s a different game, which is nonstop running and tackling for the most part. Our game, American football’s a much different game between the whistles.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, absolutely. So American Sevens Football League. So anybody listening, first of all, I forgot to mention this at the beginning. If you’re paying attention, if you’re watching this live, if you have questions for Sener or for myself, please feel free, ask them on here in the common section on whatever live stream you’re on. We’ll jump right in, we’ll attack them. We’ll tackle those questions for you. So if you have any, make sure you do that.

Ryan Knuppel:

So Sener, tell me a little bit about the markets that you’re in. I mean, I’m assuming you guys have already gotten into several cities, have teams in different cities. Tell us a little bit about the reach you have across the United States.

Sener Korkusuz:

Sure. So going from four divisions to eight divisions between last year and this season, we’re expanding into Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Boston. And so altogether, we still have our flagship divisions in New Jersey and Baltimore, which are thriving. New Jersey just won the championship with the Patterson U, and our newer divisions, including Orlando and San Diego, which are now going into their second seasons.

Ryan Knuppel:

I’m in Orlando here. I was getting ready to say, I’m about ready to put the pads on, but then I’m like, wait, we’re not putting pads on. We’re just getting out on the field and playing. So that’s amazing. That’s cool you’re in such big markets and truly, I’m assuming you’re seeing growth. I’m assuming you’re seeing interest.

Ryan Knuppel:

How are going about getting the word out about this? Because we all know everybody loves college football, everybody loves NFL and they have massive audiences and people around them. So how are you educating, besides coming on podcasts and talking and things like that, but how are you educating the world about this new league or newish league that’s going on here?

Sener Korkusuz:

Yeah, it’s really about out the viewership and exposure and awareness. So we’ve gone viral so many times, Sportscenter, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, you name it, we’ve been there. We have great partnerships right now. We’re on Fubo Sports Network, where you can catch our 2021 season coming up.

Ryan Knuppel:

Cool.

Sener Korkusuz:

The premier of those games, for the first time, since they were aired live this past season on Fight Network, who we’re partnered with as well. So that being said, social media is huge for us. Most of our marketing is really our product. It’s the football. Our athletes are the stars, and we promote them and it’s an entertaining game.

Sener Korkusuz:

There’s really not too much of a rocket science to this. The more entertaining the game, the bigger the upside potential. That’s what we believe. And we’re in America’s favorite sport, with a new and unique take on American football.

Ryan Knuppel:

Exactly. Tell me a little bit about your athletes. You mentioned your athletes. So the type of players that are playing in your league, I mean, are these ex-high school, college? What are these type of football players? And then how would they go about becoming part of your league? I mean, is it a tryout? Is it a draft? Tell me a little bit about the two.

Sener Korkusuz:

Yeah. So 18 and older, mostly guys in their 20s, early 20s, but guys as old as their 30s, 40s, and even, we have a guy who’s in his 50s who plays.

Ryan Knuppel:

Wow.

Sener Korkusuz:

His nickname’s Herschel Walker. He even travels from California to New Jersey to play, because we didn’t have teams in California at that time. So the passion for the sport, first off. The love of football, the camaraderie of being part of the team, that is something that we all know. Keeps guys active, keeps guys in shape.

Sener Korkusuz:

The minority of guys, but these are the real superstars in the league. The ones that you see on most of the highlights, these guys can be in the NFL. They can play at the next level.

Ryan Knuppel:

Wow.

Sener Korkusuz:

But they haven’t had the opportunity. A few of our guys have made it to the next level, whether in various leagues but that being said, we’re a league of opportunity. We bridge the gap where there’s only 32 NFL teams, 700 and some college programs, and really nothing in between. We’re going to fill that gap with our entertainment.

Ryan Knuppel:

Now, are those players, are they signing contracts? Are they making money, or is this truly a passion thing for them?

Sener Korkusuz:

So we have prize money. This past season, $25,000 in total. This upcoming season, I’ll announce it here for the first time, $50,000 in prize money coming up.

Ryan Knuppel:

Oh, nice.

Sener Korkusuz:

Yeah, it’s going to be a big deal.

Ryan Knuppel:

Congrats.

Sener Korkusuz:

So that’s a big part of it. Our athletes actually register and pay as part of their process to be eligible, to be in the A7FL.

Ryan Knuppel:

Okay, got it.

Sener Korkusuz:

So you can see, this is a passion. This isn’t their primary income. This is something they’re doing when they’re going to work on Monday, they’re playing on Sunday and being at the office on Monday, at the airport, loading planes, doing everything. Our guys run the gamut. They’re really amazing. This is what the league is all about. These guys are the stars. We’re the American Idol of football.

Ryan Knuppel:

I love it. I love it, man. I mean, this is such a cool concept and it’s something that I really think has legs, for lack of better terms. I mean, I think it’s definitely something that could continue going viral, continue growing. Speak a little bit about your upcoming plans.

Ryan Knuppel:

I mean, you just mentioned that you’ve doubled your prize payout. What else do you guys see happening? I mean, do you see more cities coming on board? What else is in the future for the A7FL?

Sener Korkusuz:

Yeah, definitely. So we’ll expand again next season. Year over year, we’ll be expanding across the country. There could be a division and multiple divisions in each state, as there already are. And eventually we’re growing into a major league, meaning our athletes will be paid. This will be their primary income, we’ll be traveling across the country from week to week.

Sener Korkusuz:

We believe in this sport to be a professional sport. Of course, it’s a building process. We’re starting from the grassroots and building up. We now have over 700 investors across the country who’ve committed to supporting the A7FL. They believe in what we’re doing. This is all kinds of backgrounds, people in medicine, people in sports, people in business, but they get it. And most coaches, most football insiders get it too. When you remove the helmets and pads, it changes the game and it actually elevates the safety in football and that’s a big deal.

Ryan Knuppel:

It is. That’s interesting to think of it that way. That’s really cool. Well, congrats on all the success.

Sener Korkusuz:

Thank you.

Ryan Knuppel:

It’s super cool. Where can people find out more about the A7FL, or possibly contact you or whoever needs to be contacted if there’s someone here that may want to learn more or potentially may want to be a part of what you have going on? How would they find out more, get ahold of you guys?

Sener Korkusuz:

Sure. A7FL.com, our website. Once you get over there, you can check out how to invest in us, how to join a team as a player, how to even own a division as an owner.

Ryan Knuppel:

Cool.

Sener Korkusuz:

You can see all of that as well as all of the teams across the league and our plans over this next season. We’re going to have a combine coming up, a preseason coming up, players, if you’re ready, go over to A7FL.com and register and join right now.

Ryan Knuppel:

Man, I can feel the passion. I can feel the passion you have for this. And really, I’m excited to learn more about it myself. Being a huge sports fan and obviously, loving football myself. This is something that I haven’t really watched or paid a lot of attention to. And now you got my eyes open. I’m going to definitely go out and check it out myself.

Sener Korkusuz:

Awesome. Yeah. Keep an eye on us.

Ryan Knuppel:

Oh, yeah. I think it’s something I’ll definitely follow. And I can see how it’d be entertaining from a viewership side as well, watching and trying to follow your local teams or maybe some players that you like to follow in this as well. So, Sener, I really appreciate your time. I won’t keep you very much longer. Anything else? Any last words? Anything we missed through this conversation? I always like to open the floor for just anything that you maybe wanted to say before we close.

Sener Korkusuz:

Yeah. Thanks. So I know you’re big into betting and your audience is as well. So that’s a big next phase for the A7FL. As we continue to grow the league, looking to establish partnerships and sponsorships with the sports books. So that means eventually, gaming and betting on the A7FL. It’s going to be a big deal as well. The whole landscape is changing, so that’s a win-win for everybody. It even makes the game more entertaining. Everybody knows this, when you have a bet on the game, you’re hooked. So it’s a big deal, stay tuned, and you might see us at Draft Kings next.

Ryan Knuppel:

I was going to say, I’m glad you brought that up. I feel like you’re hosting the show here. I’m glad you brought that up, but I didn’t know how you guys were handling the betting scene and if that was something you’re going to jump into, but I think that’s a great idea and navigating that whole space is going to be interesting for you.

Ryan Knuppel:

It’ll be interesting to see how that goes, but I think it’s a great step, because it definitely makes everything more entertaining when you do have a little bit of money on whatever you’re betting on. So good luck with that. And I think that’ll be a nice next step for you guys.

Sener Korkusuz:

Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. Well, this is Sener Korkusuz, sorry, I always mispronounce last names-

Sener Korkusuz:

Perfect.

Ryan Knuppel:

… but this was Sener, thank you so much. A7FL, Sener, really a pleasure to have you on. Thank you.

Sener Korkusuz:

My pleasure. Take care.

Ryan Knuppel:

All right, everybody. That was Sener Korkusuz of the A7FL. We really appreciate his time. We really appreciate you tuning in. We will post this after the fact as well on all the channels, so be sure to come back, new Sports Show. Check out the A7FL. I think it’s going to be an awesome league to really follow and see the growth of as they continue to move into different cities and different markets and possibly get into the sports betting scene.

Ryan Knuppel:

So for those of you in the sports betting area, I know most of you watching this show love gaming, love iGaming. Hey, let’s see if they can get a market out there on one of the sports books and we’ll go from there. So, take care, everybody. Have a great day. I’m Ryan Knuppel. This was Sener Korkusuz of the A7FL. Take care. Have a great day. Bye-bye.

 

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Ryan is a veteran to the sports betting industry. He owns and operates Knup Solutions where they provide the highest quality sports betting and igaming content to affiliates and operators. His contributions on Knup Sports show his pure knowledge and love for the sports and gaming industry.

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