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Arena Football League loses its fifth team this offseason

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 12:  Quarterback Aaron Garcia #8 of the Jacksonville Sharks calls a play in the huddle during the ArenaBowl XXIV against the Arizona Rattlers at US Airways Center on August 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Sharks defeated the Rattlers 73-70.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Less than two months after the Arena Football League concluded its 29th season, the league appears to be in disarray, with five teams either folding or jumping ship to rival indoor football leagues.

The L.A. KISS have ceased operations without any announcement and without even informing its players, according to multiple reports. The Orlando Predators and Portland Steel also folded this offseason. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Sharks and Arizona Rattlers are leaving to join the Indoor Football League.

That leaves the Arena League — the third-oldest pro football league, behind only the NFL and Canadian Football League — with only four teams. The Arena League is now scrambling to solidify its status as a viable product going forward.

“The Arena Football League is focused on solidifying its foundation for the long term and is in active conversations with strong, experienced ownership groups in markets where there is already a pro sports signature in place,” the league said in a statement. “The addition of the Washington Valor this coming season provides a solid example of where we are headed. Ultimately, we continue to be focused on positioning and growing the league over the long term to deliver the great game, compelling broadcasts and arena experience our fans have come to expect.”

In order to deliver a great game, the Arena League needs teams to play those games. And those teams are vanishing quickly.

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24 Responses to “Arena Football League loses its fifth team this offseason”
  1. fallujahff says: Oct 18, 2016 4:12 PM

    They should penalize teams more for taunting. That’ll bring them all back.

  2. factschecker says: Oct 18, 2016 4:13 PM

    I honestly did not know the Arena league was even still around.

    I learned something today.

  3. rodvmunchiii says: Oct 18, 2016 4:18 PM

    When I was younger I used to go to Tampa Bay Storm games when they played at the Florida Suncoast Dome (now Tropicana Field) and man, what a fun game to watch and a fun cr0wd back them. Tampa’s QB was Jay Gruden and the team wore zubaz and they’d draw a good 20,000 people a game, the place was packed. The best punch I’ve ever seen in my life, be it pro or not, was at one of those games when some guy was talking trash to another guy who was a row above him in the seats. The guy who was up higher did a huge huge uppercut and the other guy flew up over the seats below him and tumbled down like a rag doll probably 8 rows. Amazing he wasn’t dead – but it was incredible in person to see someone fly that far. Those early to mid 90s Tampa Bay Storm and Lightning crowds that would pack 20,000-30,000 people into that dome were rowdy. Now they play baseball there in front of 7,000 people and it’s so quiet you can hear someone eating popcorn up in the cheap seats.

  4. scrp2 says: Oct 18, 2016 4:19 PM

    Art Rooney Sr. paid 3k for the Steelers in 1933. Coincidentally that is what the Arena League is asking for a team.

  5. weepingjebus says: Oct 18, 2016 4:20 PM

    Sad, I’ve enjoyed AFL games and think the country is better with more football in it. Hopefully they get their financies straightened out and refocus on viable markets.

  6. shackdelrio says: Oct 18, 2016 4:28 PM

    It was only a matter of time before the Arena Football League went away again.

    Running a non-major sport league is a fool’s errand. They never last unless subsidized by a major league. That is why minor league baseball and the WNBA are still around.

  7. absolutevisuals says: Oct 18, 2016 4:29 PM

    Start supporting your local leagues. Just the local leagues have to learn how to be more organized.

  8. captainwhodat says: Oct 18, 2016 4:41 PM

    like above, I attended Arena Football games in Tampa and they were loud and rowdy, with hard rock & roll blaring ..then the league got too full of itself and began taking it self too seriously…the fund and crowds dwindled accordingly…sound familiar?

  9. Chris says: Oct 18, 2016 4:45 PM

    Now that the Rattlers have left, you know the end is near. That’d be like the Packers jumping ship to a rival League.

  10. JSpicoli says: Oct 18, 2016 4:51 PM

    Coming to a league near you soon

  11. ksctychiefs says: Oct 18, 2016 5:03 PM

    in all seriousness i’ve enjoyed watching the arena football league far more than the nfl in the last few years!!….

  12. ibottpsgoldpants says: Oct 18, 2016 5:09 PM

    Not sure why the NFL doesn’t back one of these leagues as a pseudo farm team system like baseball. There’s no reason it couldn’t work unless of course they try and put in Europe again.

  13. collectordude says: Oct 18, 2016 5:22 PM

    There’s an arena football league?

  14. mongo3401 says: Oct 18, 2016 5:23 PM

    Hope they all fold. Should have been called the hard up and hopeless trailer trash league

  15. nickp91 says: Oct 18, 2016 5:37 PM

    Arena Football League peaked in popularity in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s when they had stable ownership and a semi-partnership with the NFL

  16. riderspantherssk says: Oct 18, 2016 5:49 PM

    There are already a few former AFL teams in the IFL now, by the looks of it. Which isn’t too surprising when you see their season time frame. Feb-July makes a lot more sense than April-August.

  17. twoteamsforlosangeles says: Oct 18, 2016 6:06 PM

    Well, at least they lasted longer than the XFL…(Remember that league? Neither did I)

  18. friscokid49 says: Oct 18, 2016 6:11 PM

    Arena league sealed its own fate by allowing the champions last year to fold the day after the championship game.

    What kind of message does that send?

  19. mcdeez22 says: Oct 18, 2016 6:43 PM

    The NFL is silly not to have farm teams. The other major sports all have them. These teams could play in smaller markets and draw crowds. The Rochester Bills. The San Antonio Cowboys. The Sacramento 49ers. Why not? They play Wednesday nights. Stars of the league emerge and are likely to get called up to the bigs. They could rent out small college (or big high school) stadiums to defray the cost and get away from the arena model. $15 tickets, family four packs for $40. It would be great. The lack of association to the league we care about is what makes Arena seem irrelevant.

    We are also missing out on a lot of late blooming talent. Given today’s lack of developmental leagues, it’s very possible that tomorrow’s Kurt Warner never gets a chance.

  20. thegonz13 says: Oct 18, 2016 7:09 PM

    It’s a damn shame because the fast-paced game is so entertaining. Personally, I’d rather Watch an arena football game than a Cleveland-Jets game.

    mcdeez22 brings up something interesting. The NFL could have used the Arena Football League as a developmental league just to give players some in-game experience. More short-sightedness from Roger and crew, I guess.

  21. ninozlatino says: Oct 18, 2016 8:33 PM

    Football and Philly just don’t mix. Win a championship oh its no longer that now it’s super bowl. Those no longer count. Win arena league. Oh yea. Sorry. No longer a league. Lol. Thank goodness for other sports.

  22. ninozlatino says: Oct 18, 2016 8:35 PM

    No wonder we finally won. There was only 7 teams. Awful! I didn’t even know that. I guess why there’s only 7. Nobody did.

  23. dragonfly99 says: Oct 18, 2016 8:46 PM

    Bring back the USFL.

  24. jaymeister says: Oct 18, 2016 9:57 PM

    The NFL should probably “loan” them Cleveland, Chicago, Jacksonville and San Francisco. Then refuse to take them back.

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