By Anthony Miller
It appears that Albany will be getting an arena football team back in its city for next season. Jaclyn Cangro first reported that the owners of the Orlando Predators are working on a lease agreement with the Times Union Center. The hope is to have an Albany team in the NAL next season.
Cangro also shared a statement saying, "The Times Union Center is in negotiations with the owner of the Orlando Predators, which is interested in owning a second team within the NAL Arena Football League and they hope to start playing in 2021. The deal is not completely done yet and therefore we cannot yet confirm that this will 100% happen. However, we remain optimistic that a deal will get done in the near future and it is out hope to bring back an arena football team back to Albany. Tampa, Louisville, Orlando, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Carolina, West Virginia, Columbus, GA and potentially two additional markets besides Albany will be playing in the NAL in 2021. Many of the players who used to play in the AFL are now playing in the NAL. We hope to be able to host a press event in the coming weeks to confirm and finalize details."
Cangro was also told that Empire and Firebirds are being considered for names of the franchise. Albany last had a team with the Empire for the 2018 and 2019 AFL seasons. They made the playoffs twice and winning the last ArenaBowl last year before the league folded. More information is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
Written by Chris Mabry
As the hiatus of the IFL continues until 2021, the league is continuing to expand the league by adding another team to the league. A few months ago, the IFL revealed that Columbus was coming in 2021. Now due to the pandemic, it's been pushed back to 2022. So before I announce the new name. Here's the setup.
The press conference was held at the Columbus Zoo. A few people got up and talked for a few minutes and then the big moment... Please welcome the Columbus Wild Dogs.
Coined as one of the fearless animals in the African jungle this should be a fierce team. It will be coached by Bobby Holland and will be played at Nationwide Areana. The former home of the Columbus Destroyers who played last year. You can check out the brand new team by going to www.columbuswilddogs.com.
Welcome to the IFL Columbus Wild Dogs. See you in 2022.
By Anthony Miller
The Baltimore Brigade appear to be on the move. HMG Sports Marketing released a statement saying that the team is moving to San Antonio with the assumption that they will play in the IFL. In the process, Baltimore will get an expansion team that will most likely play in the NAL.
“We believe that this is a great move and a great business decision. From a marketing perspective, San Antonio is a military town and the name just fits. The IFL gets a major market out West and we’re excited about that, but we’re equally excited that we’ve ensured that arena football fans in Baltimore will also get a quality franchise in a new league after the shutdown of the AFL,” says Will Hanna, National Director for HMG Sports.
The statement also mentioned that Hanna will have a major stake to the team with their partners Showcase Athletics. HMG Sports purchased the equipment and the assets of the Brigade team back in June. The San Antonio franchise is committed to playing their games in 2021. There are no confirmations on whether the San Antonio team will remain the Brigade, but Hanna stated that more news will come out soon.
San Antonio is no strangers to having arena football in its fair city. Their first team was the San Antonio Force in 1992 lasting only one season in the Arena Football League. The Steers appeared for one season back in 2007 in San Antonio as part of the National Indoor Football League. Their most known arena team is the Talons who played in the Arena Football League from 2011 to 2014.
The city has had a history of being great supports of football who professional teams come in. When the short lived Alliance of American Football was around, the San Antonio Commanders would average around 25,000 fans per game. Even though the new arena team won't hit those numbers, it's safe to say that football will be popular with their residents.
Written by Chris Mabry
Due to the National Arena League cancelling the 2020 season, they are preparing for the 2021 season. Now they have added their second team. First it was the Louisville Xtreme and now it's the Tampa Bay Tornadoes. Below is the official NAL statement:
Tampa Bay joins the following eight teams for the 2021 season and it might grow.
Written by Chris Mabry
This year in indoor football, it was supposed to be the year of indoor football. 27 teams in the top three indoor leagues. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus, it has impacted both IFL and CIF. Now the NAL.
The National Arena League has posted a statement on their respective social media accounts. Here is the statement:
This will be the first time since 1982 where there will be no indoor football season. We will just have to wait until the 2021 season.
Written By Chris Mabry
When the Albany Empire defeated the Philadelphia Soul in Arena Bowl XXXII no one believed it would be the final Arena Football League game ever. Now, after ten months out of the spotlight the former indoor league is back in the spotlight. Here is what for.
According to Fox Business, the AFL who is bankrupted is planning on selling it's assets. These assets include team equipment, memorabilla, and intellectual property. They will go up for sale later this month as part of the pankruptcy proceedings.
"This auction is a historic opportunity for sports enthusiasts, coaches, and indoor football investors to acquire an extraordinary amount of equipment," said Paul Brown, vice president of GA Global Partners. "From complete indoor football field systems to game uniforms, people will be able to bid on individual lots or together as an entire league."
If you could by something from the league, what would you buy?
Written By Anthony Miller
The IFL is following in the footsteps of many professional sports leagues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release, the league announced it would be canceling the remainder of the 2020 season. The league added as the reasoning being too many unknowns with COVID-19 and when sports would be allowed to play again.
IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon responded by stating, "This is a decision we take very seriously, and it comes as a result of extended, thoughtful discussion among our Board of Directors. Because there are so many critical unknowns that are out of our control, we feel as a league we would be best serving the health and stability of the IFL community by taking a proactive approach and focusing our talents and our resources toward preparing for a breakout 2021 season. The health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, and fans is our top concern."
The league also announced that the board of directors approved of extending the 2021 season to 16 games. Their decision behind the move was to add more value to the fans and their sponsors.
The season was able to only produce two total games back on March 7th and 8th. The Quad City Steamwheelers took care of business on the road by beating Cedar Rapids River Kings 54-39. San Diego was the other road team having success on the road as the Strike Force defeated the Bismarck Bucks 50-36.
It was suppose to be a big season for the league as they were adding four teams to the season. The Spokane Shock were being brought back to arena football for the first time since 2017. The Duke City Gladiators was joining the IFL after being in the CIF from 2015 through 2019. Two new franchises joined the league with the Oakland Panthers and the Frisco Fighters.
Tyron wanted to make sure the league was made to protect their staff and players. "The IFL remains committed to the safety and well-being of our players, our team and league staff members, our fans, and our corporate partners. During this extraordinary time in our country, we have all been impacted, and we believe that it will take all of us working together to return to a semblance of normalcy. With that stated, I am extremely proud of how our IFL teams have taken prominent leadership roles within their respective communities to provide assistance and hope to those who need it most. We will continue those efforts as best we can and we will work directly with our local governments and healthcare providers to help in any way we can in the midst of these difficult times."
Despite the season being cut well too short, the expansion of 16 games will bring some excitement to the 2021 season. The league currently has 13 teams, but more additions could be on the way with a new 16 game season happening. With the AFL out of the picture, it appears that 2021 could be the year to see if the IFL becomes the top arena football league around.
Written by Chris Mabry
As we wait for the IFL to get back up and running, the expansion team Frisco Fighters have been making moves to their roster. They added Tanner Marsh to the roster.
Marsh has been a quarterback in professional football for six years playing for three different teams. His playing career started North of the border in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes. In 2017, he moved back to the states, Tanner tried his hand at the indoor game signing for the Cleveland Gladiators. Two years ago, he returned to his home state of Texas playing for the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football.
As a quarterback in the indoor football circuit, he hasn't played all that much but overall, he is an experienced veteran in the game.
According to his bio on the Frisco Fighters website, his favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys and his football idol is former quarterback turned broadcaster Tony Romo. Hopefully we will see Marsh on the field soon.
BY DEREK HARPER
All this downtime with no sports got me thinking about the various leagues and everything that could possibly happen in the future. While this article is an editorial and assumes the right ownership and management is in place, it'd be very neat to see this happen. The AWFC got off to a bit of a rocky start in 2019 and changes have continued to occur since, leaving the league with only three teams having a venue with the outdoor semi-pro team, Tri-City Rage filling in for the now defunct Tri-Cities Fire. This got me thinking...what if the AWFC had the right ownership and was a smaller regionally based league with teams in smaller to midsize markets in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming? My thought is having a nine team league with new expansion franchises as well as existing teams from the current AWFC. Since it'd be an odd number of teams, one team would have a bye week while the remaining eight each had a game.
The current teams would all remain the same with the Nampa based Idaho Horsemen, Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks, and Yakima Canines. However, the outdoor travel team, Tri-City Rage filling in for the now defunct Tri-Cities Fire would be replaced by a new Tri-Cities franchise that would call Kennewick's Toyota Center home. The venue seats 5,694 for hockey so it'd seat roughly the same for arena football. The venue has a history of indoor football with a total of thirteen seasons having been played there with the Tri-Cities Fever who played in the AF2, the Arena Football League's then minor league which is now defunct, as well as the also defunct National Indoor Football League (NIFL), finally the Indoor Football League (IFL). Then in 2019 the Tri-Cities Fire played a lone season in the current AWFC.
The next expansion franchise would be placed in Kent, Washington at the accesso ShoWare Center. The venue seats 6,500 for hockey games so it'd be roughly the same for arena football. Kent also has a history of arena football at the venue with two seasons of the IFL when the Kent Predators/Seattle Timberwolves called the venue home.
The third expansion franchise would be placed north of Kent in Everett, Washington and Angel of the Winds Arena. The venue seats 8,149 for hockey so it'd be roughly the same for arena football. Like Kent, Everett has a history of arena football with a total of four seasons having been played there before. For three seasons from 2005-2007 it was the Everett Hawks who played in both the NIFL and AF2, two leagues that both don't exist any longer. Then in 2012, the Seattle Timberwolves relocated to Everett where they rebranded as the Everett Raptors and remained in the IFL for one lone season.
The fourth expansion franchise would be in Butte, Montana at the Butte Civic Center. The venue seats 5,100 for hockey so it'd be roughly the same for arena football. The franchise would be the first arena football team to call Butte home and the main tenant for the venue.
The fifth expansion franchise would be placed in Billings, Montana at First Interstate Arena. The venue seats 12,000 people for events so it'd be roughly less than that given what it takes for a hockey/arena football setup. The venue has a history of indoor football with a total of thirteen seasons having been played there before. First, it was the Billings Outlaws from 2000-2010 and then the Billings Wolves from 2015-2016.
The ninth and final expansion franchise would be placed in Casper, Wyoming at the Casper Events Center. The venue seats 8,395 for hockey and football and has hosted a total of fourteen seasons of indoor football in the past. The Wyoming Cavalry called the venue home from 2001-2014 while competing in various leagues including the now defunct NIFL and American Indoor Football Association (AIFA), and most recently the IFL.
The new reimagined AWFC would see a five team Western Conference and a four team Eastern Conference. The Western Conference would consist of all the Washington teams with Everett, Kent, Yakima, Wenatchee Valley, and Tri-Cities while the Eastern Conference would consist of Idaho, Butte, Billings, and Casper.
BY DEREK HARPER
One way to grow the game of indoor and arena football would be playing a game or two a season in a city within the geographic footprint of a league that might feasibly be able to host a future team. This idea comes from something the Junior-A British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) does where they play two games during the season in a city without a team. However, that city is also fairly far away from any others in the league. This article will look at cities in the National Arena League (NAL), Champions Indoor Football (CIF), and Indoor Football League (IFL) that could potentially host a game or two for a Road Show and possibly a team one day.
NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL)
Let's take a trip down memory lane to Allentown, PA and a city that hosted an NAL franchise for a short time when the NAL was first founded. The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks existed in multiple leagues, but most recently the NAL for two seasons from 2017-2018. The PPL Center has a seating capacity of 8,500 for arena football. It hosted the now defunct Philadelphia Soul of the also defunct Arena Football League (AFL) for late regular season games and playoff games in 2016. The venue currently hosts the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL). In total, four seasons of arena football have been played in Allentown and would be a perfect city for an NAL Road Show matchup. The most likely teams geographically to take part in a game in Allentown would be the West Virginia Roughriders and Jersey Flight. Geographically, the Jersey Flight would be the home team, being only an hour and twenty minutes from Trenton, home of the Flight.
Next up is Reading, PA which has hosted eight seasons of indoor football inside the Santander Arena. The Santander Arena seats 7,160 for ice hockey so it'd be roughly the same for arena football. In 2015, the venue hosted the ASI Panthers of American Indoor Football (AIF), but before that it hosted seven seasons of the Reading Express who played in multiple leagues from 2006-2012. Roughly an hour and a half from Trenton, the Flight could again play host to the West Virginia Roughriders.
A third city that'd be a good host for an NAL Road Show and potentially a team is Albany, NY. The Times Union Center has hosted 21 seasons of arena football in the past with the Conquest, Firebirds, and Empire. The original Firebirds franchise existed from 1990-2000 in the original AFL. The Conquest/Firebirds existed from 2002-2009 in what was the AFL's minor league, the AF2. The now defunct Albany Empire played two seasons from 2018-2019 in the AFL. The Empire always brought in a good crowd for each game and would be a great market for the NAL to explore. The TCU seats 13,785 for arena football and is roughly two hours and fifteen minutes from Worcester, Massachusetts where the Massachusetts Pirates play. The Pirates could potentially host the Jersey Flight in a Road Show matchup.
Another market that could host an NAL Road Show matchup is Greenville, SC. Bon Secours Wellness Arena has hosted five seasons of indoor and arena football. The venue is currently home to the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. From 2000-2002 the venue hosted the Carolina Rhinos of the AF2, then in 2009 it was the South Carolina Force of the AIFA, and finally the Greenville Force of the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) in 2010. The venue seats 13,951 for hockey so roughly around that for arena football. The Carolina Cobras in Greensboro are just over three hours from Greenville while the Columbus (GA) Lions are four hours from Greenville. The Cobras could potentially host the Lions in an NAL Road Show matchup.
Another South Carolina city that could host an NAL Road Show matchup is Charleston. North Charleston Coliseum seats 10,537 for ice hockey and arena football. The venue currently hosts the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays. It's previously played host to five seasons of arena football. First from 2000-2003 the Charleston Swamp Foxes played four seasons in the AF2 and in 2006 the Charleston Sandsharks played a lone season in the now defunct National Indoor Football League (NIFL). The Carolina Cobras are roughly four hours and forty-five minutes from Charleston while the Columbus (GA) Lions are just barely under six hours away. Like in Greenville, the Cobras could potentially host the Lions in an NAL Road Show matchup.
Another market that could host an NAL Road Show matchup is Norfolk, VA. Norfolk Scope currently hosts the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals. The venue has played host to four seasons of arena football in the past with the AF2's Norfolk Nighthawks from 2000-2003. The venue seats 8,701 for ice hockey so it'd be a similar number for arena football. The Carolina Cobras are just over four hours from Norfolk while the West Virginia Roughriders are just under eight hours away. The Cobras could potentially host the Roughriders in an NAL Road Show matchup.
INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL)
One potential city that could host an IFL Road Show matchup is Bakersfield, CA. Mechanics Bank Arena seats 8,751 and currently hosts the AHL's Bakersfield Condors. The venue previously hosted two editions of the Bakersfield Blitz, one that moved to Fresno and another that later folded after four seasons. In total, the two editions of the Blitz played six seasons of arena football in Bakersfield both as members of the AF2. Bakersfield is roughly just over a three hour and fifteen minute drive from San Diego, where the Strike Force play. The Oakland Panthers meanwhile are roughly just over four and half hours from Bakersfield. The San Diego Strike Force could potentially host the Oakland Panthers in an IFL Road Show matchup.
Another city that might be a good host for an IFL Road Show game is Billings, MT which has previously hosted two IFL franchises for a total of 13 seasons. First, it was the Billings Outlaws from 2000-2010 and then the Billings Wolves from 2015-2016. First Interstate Arena seats 12,000 people for events so it'd be roughly less than that given what it takes for a hockey/indoor football setup. The Bismarck Bucks are barely just over a six hour drive from Billings while the Spokane Shock are just under an eight and a half hour drive. The Bucks could potentially host the Shock in an IFL Road Show matchup.
A third city that could possibly host an IFL Road Show matchup is Reno, NV. Reno previously hosted the Reno Barons of the Western Indoor Football Association (WIFA) for one season in 2011. Most recently, the Reno Express played one season in 2019 as members of the American West Football Conference (AWFC). Reno Events Center seats 7,000 for events so it'd be around that capacity with how the venue is configured. Reno is about a three and a half hour drive from the Oakland Panthers and about nine hours and forty-five minutes from the San Diego Strike Force. So while not ideal for San Diego, they're currently the second closest team to Reno. Oakland could potentially host an IFL Road Show matchup against the Strike Force.
A fourth market that previously played host to the IFL that could host an IFL Road Show matchup is Bemidji, MN. The Bemidji Axemen played two seasons from 2014-2015 inside the Sanford Center which seats 4,700 for ice hockey and would be roughly the same for indoor football. The Bismarck Bucks are just over five and a half hours from Bemidji while the Sioux Falls Storm are just over six hours away. The Bucks could potentially host the Storm in an IFL Road Show matchup.
CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF)
A city the CIF could go to for a Road Show matchup is Cedar Park, TX. H-E-B Center at Cedar Park currently hosts the NBA G-League's Austin Spurs and the AHL's Texas Stars. It sits 6,778 for hockey so it'd be roughly the same for indoor football. The West Texas Warbirds are just barely under five and a half hours from Cedar Park while the Oklahoma Flying Aces are seven hours and fifteen minutes away. The Warbirds could potentially host the Flying Aces in a CIF Road Show matchup.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU THE FANS
In this time of absence without sports, we'd like to hear from you the fans, on which markets within each league's geographic footprint could potentially host a Road Show matchup and even possibly a team. Obviously a lot of factors including distance to competition, past markets that've been burned, future expansion that's already known to us, as well as arena size went into choosing the listed cities. If you think we left a city out that should be considered or disagree with certain choices we made let us know and maybe we might consider them in a future article.