Who We Are: BATL
BATL (the Backyard Axe Throwing League) is not only the premier axe throwing destination in North America, we’re also the pioneers of the sport. Bringing the sport of urban axe throwing to the masses since 2006, we’re the foremost authority on the thrilling pastime that’s taken the world by storm. Wondering who we are and just how we started? Learn a little bit more about BATL, the Backyard Axe Throwing League.
The History Of BATL
The sport of urban axe throwing that has taken the world by storm started in way way that is fairly predictable: at a cottage with friends. In 2006, founder and CEO Matt Wilson to a cabin in Southern Ontario with his closest pals and after hours of rain, they had to find a way to keep busy. The group began throwing hatches at a tree, and instantly felt the cathartic release of sinking an axe into softwood. Little did they know this was the start of something huge.
Upon returning home to Toronto Matt decided to set up a target in his backyard and invite some friends over to show them just how enjoyable throwing an axe could be. They didn’t need much convincing. Before long a point system was created, and soon enough a group of 8 friends would meet every week and engage in some friendly competition. 8 friends quickly grew to 16, and 16 quickly grew to 32. Before he knew it, Matt was hosting 2 full leagues of a total of 60+ per night in his backyard, not including all the spectators that would stop by to catch a glimpse of our exciting new sport.
It didn’t take long for the crowds of people that had heard of our weekly axe meetings in a downtown Toronto backyard to make us realized that we had outgrown our small space. In 2011, BATL made its first move indoors into a nondescript warehouse in the west end of the city. With Matt still working his job as a bartender 3 days a week, our new location could only host leagues 4 nights a week – and believe it or not, that wasn’t nearly enough. The wait list continued to grow, and we quickly realized that we had to make this experience available to not just our league members but also the more casual would-be axe thrower. BATL instantly started offering private tournaments, and that’s when axe throwing began to take off.
The Expansion Of The Backyard Axe Throwing League
Our only location was fully booked three months in advance year round, making it obvious to us that the demand for axe throwing wasn’t going anywhere. In December of 2013, BATL opened its second location in a huge space in the east end of Toronto (nearly 5 times the size of our Sterling Road location), and the rest is history. Since then, BATL has ballooned to have 15 locations (including Toronto, Pickering, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, London, Kitchener, Hamilton, and Calgary in Canada; in addition to Novi, Scottsdale, Houston, Nashville, Chicago, and Orlando in the United States). BATL now employs nearly 400 expertly trained axe gurus that teach over 300,000 people a year how to have an amazing time while throwing an axe. Countless celebrities have since graced us with their presence at locations everywhere, and we’ve been featured on TSN, CBC and The History Channel, MTV, Vice, and more – in addition to The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post in print.