Ron Shurts describes himself as a “football guy”. More importantly, he’s a Rattlers guy.
The team’s new majority owner—replacing Mike Galloway who will maintain a minority stake in the Arena Football League team, has been a Rattlers season ticket holder since day one. “For me to watch football during the summer down here (at what was then America West Arena when the team began play in 1992). My buddies and I would come down here and had a good time on Saturday night.”
Shurts, co-founder of The Annexus Group, wants everyone to have that same good time when they watch the Rattlers play, preferably in front of a packed house at US Airways Center.
“I hear people say ‘It’s kind of like hockey. It’s kind of like soccer and basketball but it’s fast,'” he said at Thursday’s press conference attended by Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon. “This is football. Period. End of story. It’s a smaller field. That’s it.”
Getting the team more visibility is Shurts’ first goal. He’s already succeeded in landing a TV deal with Fox Sports Arizona to televise the Rattlers remaining home games, beginning this Saturday against Chicago. He’s also looking at various theme nights to draw people to games.
“I’m a Husker. I’ve got a call into Coach (Bo) Pelini. We’re going to have a Husker Night. We’re going to have a Husker, Hawkeye Night. We’re going to have some different reasons for people to be here.”
Head Coach Kevin Guy came away impressed the first time he met Shurts. “I talked to him for five minutes and I said to myself, ‘Hey, this guy’s a winner.’ We expect to play for a championship this year. With Ron coming on board—it takes both. We got to win on and off the field.”
The Rattlers currently own the National Conference’s best record at 7-1 and lead the West Division by two games.
This is the team’s fourth ownership change since 2005 but Shurts explained he’s committed for the long haul. “We’ll get it flipped around. We won’t be bleeding to the gills anymore. It’ll actually start making some money.”