Former Roommates Form Indoor Football Franchise

Christopher Blake, left, and Matt Custer decided to form their own professional indoor football team after working with the Harrisburg Stampede.

Matt Custer ’11, a business administration major with emphases in marketing and finance, and Christopher Blake ’11, a history major, started out as freshman roommates with a mutual interest in local sports. Now they’re colleagues.

Harrisburg’s professional indoor football team, the Stampede, allowed the pair a foot in the door of the sports industry—a door they’re now prying open as they work on establishing their own team.

Fast-paced and fan-friendly, this brand of football requires players to stay on the field after games to sign autographs and interact with fans. This atmosphere captured the pair’s imagination. They approached the owner of the Harrisburg Stampede to see how they could get involved after attending their first game.

The Stampede’s owner requested help with Facebook and Twitter fan pages to increase attendance and public interest. Blake took control of this task. Meanwhile, Custer worked on sponsorships and contracts with local businesses before settling into the role of director of media relations. A shift in management allowed him to experience the growing responsibility of a role similar to that of a general manager.

Now Custer and Blake have taken their Stampede experience with them as they work to form their own team. “The Stampede allowed us to see the ins and outs of running a professional indoor football team. We saw, through working for the team, how thrilling the sport is and how we could provide a community with a product that entire families can enjoy,” says Blake.

Custer follows a guiding principle of his own: “You should be uninhibited in how you pursue things. If you want to achieve something, don’t let anything hold you back.”

Upon graduation, Custer will become the general manager of their team, catering to the southern tier of New York, with Blake by his side as the assistant general manager.

Custer says they aim to create “a successful franchise that will put fans in the seats and have the community falling in love with indoor football.” In the long term, Blake says, “We have dreams of managing at a higher level, but we have to build our sports résumés from the ground up.”

The ambitious former roommates credit Susquehanna with propelling them toward success. “Susquehanna’s professors have helped prepare me by showing how hard I have to work to be successful. It will take a lot of hard work to run this team, and the work we do here at Susquehanna will allow us to succeed,” Blake says. 

Contributing writers to People & Places are Audrey Carroll ‘12, Megan McDermott ‘14 and Karen Jones, assistant director of media relations.

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