Arena Football League loses its fifth team this offseason

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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.

24 responses to “Arena Football League loses its fifth team this offseason

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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