Death of Tampa Bay Storm could kill the Arena League
Posted by Mike Florio on December 22, 2017, 1:53 PM EST
Thirty years after it arrived on the scene as a 50-yard indoor-war-on-the-floor supplement to the NFL, the Arena Football League may finally be on its last legs.
The Tampa Bay Storm, a franchise that joined the league as the Pittsburgh Gladiators in 1987, has announced that it will cease operations immediately, and indefinitely. The Gladiators moved to Tampa Bay and acquired their current name in 1991.
With the Cleveland Gladiators taking a two-year break due to construction activities at Quicken Loans Arena, which will shut the arena down completely after the conclusion of the NBA seasons in 2018 and 2019, the Arena League will have four teams in 2018: Albany, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
The league canceled the 2009 season due to bankruptcy proceedings, emerging with renewed ambition in 2010. Since then, new teams have come and gone (including a KISS-themed L.A. franchise), and with the league down to only four teams, it’s hard to envision a successful future.
If/when Vince McMahon brings back the XFL, maybe he should consider the examples set by the Arena League and all other pro football leagues of the last 40 years (from the WFL to the USFL to the World League to the original XFL to the UFL to a slew of low-level leagues that never got off the ground) before lighting a large pile of money on fire.