The Backyard Axe Throwing League’s
Growth in the United States
BATL pioneered the sport of urban axe throwing back in 2006 in a downtown Toronto backyard, we had no idea how far it would reach – but we knew it was something that just about anyone would enjoy. We were right. From our humble beginnings, the Backyard Axe Throwing League quickly outgrew its own backyard and went on to open 10 locations across Canada over the course of a few years.
In 2017, BATL stepped across the border to open our very first location in the United States. We partnered with Throw Nashville to bring BATL’s brand of urban axe throwing to Music City, and that would mark the beginning of our US growth.
Opened in 2017, BATL Nashville quickly began turning heads in the state of Tennessee. It didn’t take long for us to become part of our community, and have gone on to offer so much more than axe throwing. For one, BATL Nashville has played host to numerous groups of veterans, offering axe throwing as a form of therapy. Nashville’s Fox17 News got wind of what we were doing and shed some light on it in a recent article:
“Therapy comes in various forms, according to Jonathan League, the general manager of BATL, The Backyard Axe Throwing League. BATL has grown in the past decade from Canada to several locations nationwide. League, a veteran as well, partnered with the founder to open a location in Music City. While League built his first target, he says a friend…”Was completely changed. He didn’t need drugs or a long talk. He just needed to throw an ax.”
We wanted to keep the ball rolling, so shortly after the opening of our Nashville venue, BATL set its sights on the windy city. Founded by Scott Hollander, Thunderbolt Axe Throwing was the first-ever axe throwing venue in Chicago – and was a perfect fit to team up with BATL. Located in the Portage Park neighbourhood, near the surrounding neighbourhoods of Old Irving Park, Avondale, Dunning and Des Plaines. Hollander is an axe thrower himself and former lawyer who has a passion for showing people a good time, throwing fun events and teaching people how to throw axes. Thunderbolt Axe Throwing Chicago gained local press in Voyage Chicago, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Tonight amongst other news outlets.
Scott Hollander expressed to Chicago Tonight that “I used to be a lawyer and I left my job and I was travelling with friends. I’d thrown axes before outdoors for fun while camping and stuff like that, but I never knew about a business like this… We were travelling to Montreal and saw a place like this – and I immediately thought of Chicago.”
Furthermore, Scott believes that “it’s just a unique way for Chicagoans to have some harmless fun… I catch people on their way out turning to each other, you know, ‘that was awesome’ and that’s all I’m going for, you know, just having people just have a really good time.” The success of Thunderbolt Axe Throwing Chicago led to the merge with BATL, The Backyard Axe Throwing League.
Since bringing our sport to the Windy City, BATL Chicago has played host to thousands of guests – both casual first-time throwers, and league members fully immersed in the sports side of axe throwing.
Earlier this year, BATL opened its 3rd venue in the US (in the past year, no less). Situated just 8 miles from the City of Detroit, the community of Novi has been one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Michigan for years. The Backyard Axe Throwing League Novi opened earlier this year and is the premier axe throwing facility in metro Detroit. The venue is located at Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk near West Oaks Shopping Centre, in the heart of Novi. Our newest location has been an instant success thanks to a warm welcome from our surrounding community, and we’re excited to continue bringing the unique thrill of axe throwing to Metro Detroit.
This is just the beginning of our growth in the United States with locations in Scottsdale opening this December, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Houston, TX; and Madison, WI set to open in the coming year. No matter what BATL location you end up at, you can always expect the same experience that has made us famous across the world:
Private Axe Throwing Event Bookings
BATL offers two types of private event bookings: 1-hour bookings for groups of 2-5 people, and 2-2.5 hour bookings for groups of 6 and up. No matter which private event you book, you’ll get the same thing that BATL has become famous for the best one on one instruction from our skilled and friendly staff members, followed by a round robin style tournament and single elimination playoff – all orchestrated by our staff, leaving you with nothing to do but throw axes and enjoy the company of your guests. Many BATL locations offer complete bar and food services, which means even less planning for you. These events are perfectly suited to adult birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate team building, and much more.
Walk-in Axe Throwing
If you’re looking to get involved on a casual basis, all BATL venues offer hourly walk-in axe throwing sessions each and every week. No advanced booking is required, and our expert coaches are on hand to guide you every step of the way – regardless of if it’s your first time throwing, or you’re an experienced thrower looking to hone in on your skill.
Axe Throwing Leagues
Our axe throwing leagues run for 8 weeks, completely under the guidance of our resident axe gurus. Each season consists of round-robin style tournament play, where you’ll throw 28 games against other people in the league, culminating in a top 16 double elimination playoff on week 8. Our leagues are suitable for people of all skill levels, with staff on hand at all times ready to give you tips and tricks to make sure that you’re hitting the bullseye. League play falls under the National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF) umbrella, the worlds foremost governing body of the sport of axe throwing (of which BATL is a founding member). Being part of the NATF also gives you access to the most advanced statistic tracking in the sport of urban axe throwing.
We’re happy to call the US our second home. If you haven’t experienced the unique thrill of axe throwing yet, it’s time to Join the BATL!