By Aaron Castete
A trademark was filed earlier this week on Monday May 21st by National Sports Ventures LLC which is the National Arena League. The trademark was registered as "Nashville Kats", which confirms arena football is headed back to Nashville and the Kats are returning, but this time it'll be in the NAL. National Sports Ventures LLC had registered the Maine Mammoths and Carolina Cobras names months before the team's names were announced previously in 2017. Since 2017, Nashville has been one of many rumored markets to join the league. Sources reported that the Nashville team was on the brink of playing in 2018, but decided to hold off for more preparation.
Whether the team will play in Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL's Predators, or the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, no one knows yet. The Kats will make their return for the third time. The addition of Nashville to the NAL is huge for multiple reasons. Nashville is a current NFL market, with a lot of fans who support the Tennessee Titans. The city has an NHL hockey team, which sells out almost every game as a result of passionate diehard fans. Geographically, Nashville is also a great fit too!
The Kats Original Incarnation (1997-2001):
After being unable to reach favorable agreements with the Bridgestone Arena which was controlled by the venue's primary tenant, the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League, majority owner Mark Bloom sold the franchise in December 2001 to Virgil Williams, an Atlanta businessman. The team's departure was as a result of not being able to negotiate a favorable lease with the Predators. The Nashville Kats were one of the most thriving and developing teams in the AFL, with very high attendance. Following the move to Atlanta, this team would be rechristened the Georgia Force.
The Kats Second Incarnation (2005-2007):
The second incarnation of the Nashville Kats began play in 2005 at the then-Gaylord Entertainment Center, the home of the original Kats team. On October 10, 2007, after months of speculation, owner Bud Adams decided to shut down operations for the second time in Nashville Kats history. While ticket sales had been good initially, as the team didn't perform well on the field, the attendance dropped.
The Most Recent Team to play in Nashville, the Venom (2014-2015):
In 2014, a new indoor football team began play at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium as the Nashville Venom in the PIFL (Professional Indoor Football League. The team won the championship of its league in its initial season as a member, but it vanished (along with the league as a whole) after the 2015 season. Billy Back, current head coach of the NAL's Carolina Cobras was the head coach of the team along with QB Charles McCullum, WR Phillip Barnett, and WR Jordan Jolly who were members of the roster. Back, McCullum, Barnett, and Jolly, on July 12, 2014, were a part of the PIFL Cup Championship team, as they defeated the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 64-43. Old foes you may say? Yes, the Venom faced the Columbus Lions and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, current NAL members who were in the PIFL. Back, McCullum, Barnett, and Jolly have a history of playing against the Lions and Steelhawks.