Virtual axe throwing league connects members from around the world amid coronavirus pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KGO) -- The novel coronavirus shelter-in-place order has put a halt to sporting events around the world, but it wasn't just big professional sport leagues that were impacted.

Mario Zelaya is the CEO of Bad Axe Throwing and chairman of The World Axe Throwing League. He had to close forty Bad Axe Throwing locations due to COVID-19. The board of the WATL was forced to cancel this spring's major axe throwing competitions and events.

"Axe throwing is social and it is social by design," Mario Zelaya, CEO of Bad Axe Throwing. "You go into the venue and you see the same group of people over the span of seven to eight weeks throughout the league. People who are regular league members, it is a huge thing to miss out on."

RELATED: 10-year-old East Bay girl launches art fundraiser to provide meals for frontline workers battling COVID-19

Members from the axe throwing league decided to innovate the game by creating the Quarantine Axe throwing League. They claim it's the world's first quarantine sports league.

The league has connected throwers from all over the world virtually to compete and hone their skills.

"I expected to have a dozen, maybe two dozen throwers and we ended up having over 300 throwers from all over the world," said Zelaya.
The World Axe Throwing League created an axe throwing starter kit. Axe throwers have created their own targets in their backyards, basements and connect with other members on social media and other online platforms.

RELATED: East Bay SPCA offers free pet food to families in need amid the coronavirus pandemic

"I can be here in Canada and you can be in San Francisco and we can actually go head to head," said Zelaya. "The value that people are getting out of this is one, the social element and being stuck under quarantine and two they are improving their game."

Once restrictions are lifted, the World Axe throwing league plans on having more competitions virtually to connect more members globally.

"The quarantine has forced us to innovate and it has allowed us to expand into the possibility of we no longer have the need to have physical venues in order to have people compete," said Zelaya. "We can actually can do it with technology and do it virtually."

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
  • COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information

  • When will the San Francisco Bay Area reopen? Track progress on 6 key metrics to reopening here

  • Everything we know about CA businesses opening and what comes next

  • Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like


  • Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what we're still waiting on)

  • WATCH LIVE: Daily briefings from CA, Bay Area officials

  • INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: How close was CA to becoming a NY-level crisis?

  • What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?

  • Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order

  • Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/

  • List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?

  • COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
  • Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.