Steel Sports Inc. has acquired a 20% membership interest in Ruckus Sports LLC for a cash price of $1.0 million, with the right to acquire up to 60% at the same valuation. Ruckus will invest the money to continue building a national series of family oriented obstacle course races. 

Unlike other players in the booming obstacle course space, which target hardcore runners/athletes, Ruckus aims for a broader demographic, with an emphasis on making obstacle course racing a non-intimidating, yet challenging event that the entire family can enjoy. Ruckus courses are designed with a combination of exceptional obstacles that test all skill levels and an additional child-centric course. Both center on being spectator-friendly, enabling friends and family to view the entire race. The typical Ruckus obstacle course contains more than 40,000 lbs. of obstacle materials, stretches three to four miles and is designed to achieve three primary objectives: participant safety, obstacle density and fun.

Ruckus is seeing significant growing interest among participants because we are listening to our athletes and making each Ruckus event an opportunity the entire family can experience in a very fun way, said Liam Brenner, Ruckus chief executive officer, who co-founded the company in 2010. Were carving our niche by focusing on providing this new generation of weekend warriors, families and really any participant, with an unparalleled shared sporting experience.

According to Outside Magazine, over the past few years, obstacle racing has experienced an unprecedented growth rate, from about 41,000 people in 20 U.S. events in 2010, to approximately 2 million entrants in 150 events last year. The publication further states that the market is currently estimated at $250 million. 

Because of its appeal to a wide range of obstacle course participants, as well as all people looking for a fun way to stay physically fit, Ruckus is a tremendous addition to the Steel Sports portfolio, said Bob Armao, Steel Sports chief operating officer. Through Liams leadership and a sound business and marketing concept, Ruckus will continue to be a leader in the field of participatory sports.

We believe that through our partnership with Steel Sports, well be able to attract participants from areas-both geographically and demographically-who havent yet been able to experience the Ruckus difference, added Brenner, noting that about half of the entrants in Ruckus events are women. The obstacle course market is exploding, and were poised to capture those athletes who are looking for both an athletic AND fun experience. We are excited to be part of the Steel Sports family.

To date, 13 Ruckus events have been planned for 2013, including courses in Boston, New York and Atlanta. Further, the company has developed customized events, including The Walking Dead: Escape, which was a Zombie Apocalypse experience and drew over 10,000 participants, spectators and zombies to its inaugural event in San Diego in July 2012. Along with a return to San Diego during Comic-Con, the infection will be spreading across the US, starting in Philadelphia this spring.

The Ruckus partnership builds on Steel Sports current portfolio, which also includes Baseball Heaven Long Island (BBH), one of the countrys premier baseball and softball centers. Earlier, BBH announced plans to build a nearly 12,000-square-foot, $1.6 million indoor facility on its 27-acre site in Yaphank, NY. BBH also has teamed with former Major League Baseball player Frank Catalanotto, who will be its year-round head instructor.

About Ruckus Sports LLC:

Ruckus Sports is the creator of one of the industrys most exhilarating obstacle race courses and the ultimate family adventure. In 2013, Ruckus will introduce its sporting series in over 13 markets with its Ruckus obstacle courses and will again return with The Walking Dead: Escape event.

About Steel Sports:

Founded in 2011, Steel Sports Inc., a subsidiary of Steel Excel Inc. is dedicated to acquiring, building, and strengthening a network of branded participatory and experience-based businesses engaged in sports, training, education, entertainment and consumer lifestyle.

The company seeks to invest in long-term strategic partnerships in the sports, education and entertainment sectors. Through our partnerships we look to provide capital resources, as well as infrastructure and financial support, while working with management teams to enhance best practices and identify and explore growth opportunities.