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AFL approves neutral-site plan

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  • AFL approves neutral-site plan

    Friday, August 20, 2004
    By Gary Bond
    The Grand Rapids Press
    Starting in 2005, the ArenaBowl championship game will be played at a neutral site and, according to sources, the start of the Arena Football League season will be moved up two weeks to the week before the Super Bowl.

    The AFL board of directors Wednesday unanimously approved the ArenaBowl championship to be played at a neutral site. Cities under consideration to host the first neutral site ArenaBowl are Las Vegas, New Orleans, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas, the likely front-runner.

    Having a neutral site will allow the the selected city an entire year to prepare for the league's biggest spectacle, following the lead of the National Football League. The AFL also hopes to attract bigger major sponsors to the event.

    The board of directors also discussed expansion, with four possible new franchise sites making "impressive presentations," but no vote was taken. There was discussion on increasing the number of teams who qualify for the playoffs this season from eight to 12 and moving up the start of the season, but there were no talks about which teams might relocate or fold.

    "The meetings were very positive," said David Green, minority owner of the Grand Rapids Rampage, who represented the organization at the meetings. "Given the history of this league, the biggest change was approving the neutral site for the ArenaBowl."

    The AFL will be entering its 18th season in 2005.

    The AFL is considering an NBC doubleheader the Sunday before the Super Bowl and a televised AFL game on Super Bowl Sunday that would kick off at noon or 1 p.m.

    "I heard that was a possibility and as a coach you want as much time as possible to prepare your team, but I'm all for moving up the start of the season if it benefits NBC and the league," said Rampage head coach Sparky McEwen.

    "Expansion is always good in my opinion because it's another way to pick up a new fan base and possibly gather more AFL fans."

    With the announcement of the Nashville Kats re-joining the AFL for the 2005 season, there are 20 teams in the league, but the Detroit Fury, the Carolina Cobras and the Indiana Firebirds are rumored to be folding.

    The Kats franchise folded in 2001 after losing to the Grand Rapids Rampage in the ArenaBowl XV championship, 64-42.

    The AFL plans to release its 2005 schedule in September.

    © 2004 Grand Rapids Press. Used with permission

Related Topics


  • DJRamFan
    Next ArenaBowl site to be set
    by DJRamFan
    Richard Obert
    The Arizona Republic
    Aug. 26, 2004 12:00 AM

    In a unanimous vote from by teams, the Arena Football League approved playing the championship game this season at a predetermined site.

    Since the league's inception in 1987, the ArenaBowl was held at the highest seed's arena.

    Rattlers General Manager Gene Nudo said the purpose of playing the game at a predetermined site is to generate revenue for the league.

    "From an excitement standpoint, having the ArenaBowl in your own building is unmatched," Nudo said. "But the league needs to generate national revenue. Until they do that, it's hard for teams to break even and make money."

    Nudo said it's been difficult to get CEOs of major companies to look at the ArenaBowl on seven days' notice.

    Phoenix is a possible site, but the leading candidate appears to be Las Vegas.
    -08-26-2004, 09:39 AM
  • DJRamFan
    ACC begins process of selecting title game site
    by DJRamFan
    June 30, 2004 wire reports

    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Atlantic Coast Conference began reviewing proposals Wednesday from seven cities to host the league's first football championship game in 2005.


    A sub-committee of the league's athletics directors met with conference officials to review proposals from Charlotte; Baltimore; Miami; Jacksonville, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington, D.C., the league said in a release.

    The league's championship game would take place once the ACC has expanded to 12 teams. Miami and Virginia Tech join the league Thursday, while Boston College is slated to become the 12th member next year.

    The league is expected to announce a decision by early fall.

    In an interview this week with the Associated Press, commissioner John Swofford said the league solicited proposals from nine cities, with only Atlanta and East Rutherford, N.J., declining to participate.

    "We're extremely pleased at what's coming back in terms of interest and support for the game," Swofford said.

    Swofford said it was too early to say if any city had an advantage. He acknowledged Charlotte would be a "strong possibility." The city has the 73,367-seat Bank of America Stadium, home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the Continental Tire Bowl.

    "No question Charlotte is a strong possibility, along with several others," Swofford said. "Charlotte has the central location and superb stadium and now has two years of a very successful bowl game that I think indicates the city is very supportive and excited about college football."

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -07-01-2004, 07:56 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Firebirds To Stop Operations, Continue Search For New Owner
    by DJRamFan
    League Could Control Team By Sept. 20

    POSTED: 8:56 pm EST September 8, 2004

    INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Firebirds, whose owner has been trying to sell the team, said Wednesday it will cease operations at the end of this week but continue to seek a new owner until Sept. 20, RTV6's Wil Hampton reported.

    If a new owner isn't found by Sept. 20, the Arena Football League -- to which the Firebirds belong -- will control the club. The AFL could then operate it in Indiana, move it, or shut it down, Hampton reported.

    Ticket orders for the 2005 season will be refunded, the team said.

    The Firebirds moved to Indianapolis from Albany, N.Y., before the 2001 season. In 2002, David Lageschulte bought the team from Glenn Mazula, who owned the franchise since its inception in 1990.

    In July, Lageschulte said he either wanted to sell the team or move it closer to his Florida home.

    Lageschulte, who lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and was a founder of the Hooters restaurant chain, also owned the AFL's former Miami team in the mid-1990s.

    The Firebirds averaged 10,874 fans at home games in Conseco Fieldhouse this year, ranking 11th out of 19 teams. They went 8-8 and missed the eight-team playoffs.
    Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    -09-09-2004, 11:25 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Arena League eyes Salt Lake for possible expansion
    by DJRamFan
    By Aaron Cole
    Deseret Morning News

    Among the bevy of current major-league franchise rumors in Salt Lake City, add one more: an Arena Football League team.
    An AFL spokesperson confirmed Monday that an ownership group from Salt Lake City has contacted the league about a possible expansion to the Salt Lake area.
    "We have received a preliminary inquiry from an ownership group in Salt Lake. We will be exploring Salt Lake as a possibility," AFL representative Chris McCloskey said. "Salt Lake is a good market for an AFL team and has a good track record with pro sports franchises, namely the Utah Jazz."
    While Salt Lake will have to meet several requirements before an expansion team is granted, it does not appear to be beyond reach.
    No indication has been given as to whether or not Salt Lake would be granted an AFL franchise or a developmental franchise in the AF2 league. The AF2 is the AFL's equivalent of baseball's minor leagues.
    If placed in the AFL, Salt Lake would be a smaller market, but not the smallest. Current teams exist in Grand Rapids and Austin, both smaller than Salt Lake in relative size. The AFL currently has teams in seven of the 10 major markets in the United States, with several expansion options such as Washington, D.C., and Houston.
    If placed in the smaller developmental AF2, Salt Lake would be bigger than most current teams, such as Bakersfield and Birmingham.
    The AFL's popularity and attendance have grown over the past several years, prompting recent expansion to cities such as Denver and New Orleans, and attracting owners such as John Elway and Jon Bon Jovi.
    Strong ownership is one of the stringent qualifications a potential franchise will have to meet before an AFL team is approved.
    Although representatives from the AFL league office have said that contact from an interested party from Salt Lake has been preliminary, several additional steps will be necessary in the expansion process.
    First, an informal inquiry needs to be made from a potential ownership group. Then the AFL will investigate its potential new market. Then, contingent on an approval from the AFL Expansion Committee and Executive Board, three-quarters of the Board of Directors must approve the bid.
    There are 19 teams in the AFL and 25 teams in the developmental AF2 league.
    -06-30-2004, 11:01 AM
  • OldRamsfan
    5 Things You may not have Known: About The NFL
    by OldRamsfan
    5 Things You Didn’t Know: The NFL

    Its season is shorter and has fewer scheduled games than any other major American pro sport; nonetheless, the NFL has a firm hold on the title of "national obsession" in the U.S. In fact, it’s a Sunday and Monday night (and sometimes Thursday night) ritual from September through early February for its tens of millions of fans.

    As the nation’s top dog, the powerhouse league has faced more than its share of challengers through the years, all eager to get a piece of its hugely lucrative pie. They include the World Football League of the early 1970s, the USFL of the early ‘80s, Vince McMahon’s 2001 XFL, and (excluding the AFL of the 1960s) its toughest challenge, the All-America Football Conference of the 1940s -- none of which lasted beyond four seasons. The NFL has an impressive -- though not perfect -- winning record as the defendant in antitrust lawsuits, and its tremendous influence is slowly stretching beyond America’s vast and lucrative borders.

    Without further ado, we present five things you didn’t know about the NFL.

    1- The Redskins were the NFL’s last segregated team
    By 1961, 13 of the league’s 14 teams had, to some degree, been desegregated and featured black players on their rosters. The one hold-out could be found in the nation’s capital. The Washington Redskins were the league’s last all-white team, and whether it was coincidental or not, they were also the worst (from 1959 through 1961, their record was 5-30). Team owner George Marshall had staunchly refused to desegregate, claiming he would do so when the Harlem Globetrotters hired white players. That all changed with the incoming presidential administration.

    JFK had been elected, in part, thanks to his pro-civil rights platform, and having the league’s only all-white team in the nation’s capital was an eyesore for the administration. JFK, therefore, instructed his Secretary of the Interior, Stewart L. Udall, to threaten Marshall with federal retribution if the team didn’t hire black players; namely, they would be evicted from District of Columbia Stadium. In doing so, it became the first time in history that the federal government had attempted to desegregate a professional sports team.

    2- The NFL scores forfeits 2-0
    According to the official NFL rulebook, a forfeit occurs: “... when a game is not played because of the failure or refusal of one team to participate. In that event, the other team, if ready and willing to play, is the winner by a score of 2-0” (the points earned in a safety). Why a two-point safety? Because those points are the league’s only scores that are not credited to any one player.

    This little-discussed rule is even less frequently applied, since dating back to 1920 there has been just one forfeit. Specifically, December 4, 1921, when the Rochester Jeffersons lost by forfeit to the Washington Pros/Senators....
    -07-12-2013, 11:17 AM