New Swarm announces John Pruellage will serve as new Commissioner of World League FlingGolf
Amesbury, MA. May 18 , 2023
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of its first national FlingGolf tournament, New Swarm Sports, LLC announced today that its President, John Pruellage will become the new Commissioner of the World League FlingGolf (WLF).
In making the announcement, New Swarm’s Founder and CEO, Alex Van Alen said: “John and I spoke over the course of a few months, and with WLF’s growing importance in promoting the competitive side of the sport, and with a clear vision on where we are taking FlingGolf, we both felt that the league deserved an increased level of attention and focus. It was clear to me, having worked with John closely over these last 5 years that he was the person to manage the business and operations of growing a league. He has a unique skillset, combining a corporate law background and business acumen, with several successful tech ventures under his belt."
"Also, he is a total sports junkie" Van Alen went on to say, "I don’t know anyone else who can have a detailed conversation about the pros and cons of NFL, MLB and NHL league commissioners of the past, and recall every change in rules of the NFL over the last 2 decades. He will be taking that obsession into his role with WLF and I am thrilled he is stepping up to manage the business of competitive FlingGolf play, and build out a model for its growth and success.”
Upon accepting the Commissioner role, Pruellage spent some time with Van Alen talking about the role and the future of the WLF:
AVA: What excites you the most about taking the helm of an up and coming league?
JP: Being there at the beginning. The history of it all. You look at something like the NFL that’s been around for over a hundred years and think about how cool would it have been to be associated with it in its early days. Being able to shape the future, evolve the sport and the league, to experiment and try new things as FlingGolf evolves. We are not burdened by centuries of “traditions” like golf or other sports and we need to take advantage of that to create something different and exciting but also something that’s built to last. I’m the #1 fan of the competitive side of the sport, so this is really a dream job for me.
AVA: What are the immediate challenges you see to take WLF into the future?
JP: We are transitioning from FlingGolf being played at a casual level (Rules? What Rules?) to highly competitive tournaments. But it’s not completely binary. The WLF will promote and offer a stage for the players competing at the highest level while also supporting those that are new to the sport or are competing just out of a love for the game. We’ve tried to strike a balance between these two at our tournaments and will continue to do so going forward. We are also going to be putting an emphasis on local leagues, regional tournaments and other efforts to grow our competitive player base as the sport grows. The other challenge is in growing our sponsor base so that we can hold more tournaments, offer bigger prizes and support the players. We see the potential and it’s only a matter of time before major sponsors see that too.
AVA: And what about over the long term?
JP: It’s all about competing for share and importance in the minds of sports fans. But we’ve got a great sport and the best community in sports so I’m very confident about our long-term prospects.
AVA: What role has National TV played in the growth of the sport and the league so far, and how do you see that continuing into the future?
JP: We couldn’t have grown this quickly without both Shark Tank and then our relationship with ESPN. At this stage of our sport, exposure and awareness are everything. Getting to share the sport and its players and their stories with the world is going to be our best marketing. But from the competitor’s perspective, it’s also really important. Just like organized competition drives growth and passion in a sport, knowing that it will be televised adds something extra to that. As a player, you put in that extra practice effort knowing it’s going to be on TV, you sharpen your mental game because the stage is bigger.
John Pruellage (L) along with WLF Winners at the San Diego Open - Mike DeRusha, Brian Sander, Sam Scannell, Austin Ebersole and Krysta Smith - and New Swarm CEO/Founder Alex Van Alen and VP Steve Bloom
AVA: There has been a mantra of “Player Driven” around New Swarm, FlingGolf and the WLF. Can you discuss what that means for the sport and the league?
JP: It’s all about the players. Our sport is so young - we are not organizing something that has been played for years. The sport and the WLF are built on the passion of our players who are the ones out there spreading the word. A FlingGolf ad can try and convey what the sport and our product are all about, but it will never beat someone on a golf course seeing a bunch of FlingGolfers, having a blast while playing something that takes skill and determination. Our passionate players are our best ambassadors and that’s why they will be instrumental in growing the WLF and influencing how the sport evolves.
AVA: How do you see the “Teams” phenomenon of Pickleball translating into World League FlingGolf’s future?
JP: I think it’s going to be extremely important going forward. Teams make it easier to watch as a fan, to build an identity and market a brand. While individual play will still be at the core of the competitive sport, the teams are going to become extremely important. And it’s not just for the team formats that we’ve done so far. As the number of teams grow, we’ll try different formats and I can see individual performances from a member of a team counting towards team performance. We’ve got a ways to go but I think we are going to get there pretty quickly and teams are here to stay.