But Harry Pierce says he has no such plans.
He expects the team to lose $200,000 to $250,000 a year while playing at The Forum, and he says he’s OK with that.
“The Renegades is nothing but more or less — I hate to say
a donation — to prove we can have good, clean entertainment,” said Pierce, part owner of the Renegades, as well as a partner and CEO in local consumer products company Big Time Products LLC. “There’s hardly anything left you can take your family to other than the circus without seeing a bunch of loud-mouthed drunk people.”
The team begins its season March 25 at The Forum against the Montgomery Maulers.
A city like Rome has lots of appeal for families and retirees, he said, but young people often leave town in search of a home with more entertainment options.
“I wouldn’t want to be here either if I was in my 20s,” Pierce said. “If we want to keep that group of people, they’ve got to have some kind of good, clean fun — something to do.”
That’s what he says he plans to make the Rome Renegades, with strategies such as placing Bible verses on promotional T-shirts and mugs as well as providing spiritual and educational support for the team’s players and cheerleaders.
“We figured that’s going to be a contribution, our way of giving back to the community,” Pierce said.
Pierce has no shortage of management experience. He worked with The Home Depot for 12 years, leaving in 1996 as president of the company’s West Coast division, where he was in charge of 20,000 employees.
The problem he expects to have with the Renegades is not a lack of interest but rather a shortage of seating capacity.
The Forum will hold about 2,000 seats after an indoor football field is set up, Pierce estimates.
About 400 of those will be used up by sponsors and other similar commitments, and he says the remaining 1,600 seats could easily be bought up by season ticketholders alone.
He says he’d like to see a true sports arena in Rome with seating for 7,000 to 8,000, and it’s something he would consider building privately if the local government won’t do it.
“I’ve told county commissioners and city commissioners we need minor league sports to succeed in this town,” Pierce said.
He moved to Rome soon after leaving Home Depot in 1996 and lived here for several years “out of the spotlight,” he says. Since then, he married Terri Pierce, sister of Floyd County’s new sheriff, Tim Burkhalter.
He got involved with Big Time Products about two years ago. The company markets a variety of consumer products, which are manufactured at overseas facilities. About 70 percent to 80 percent of Big Time’s items are gloves.
“People will bring a product to us that they don’t have any idea how to market,” Pierce said. “We’ll buy them out or pay them royalties. We try not to do any partnerships. We like to be masters of our own destiny.”
Rick Chambers and Mark White are Pierce’s partners in Big Time Products and the Rome Renegades.
Among Big Time’s brands are Quickie latex and vinyl gloves, Firm Grip gloves, un-du adhesive remover, Spot-X stain remover, Stud Step construction tools, Wrangler gloves and ChemOil-Away