Jackpot! - IFL Expands to Las Vegas May 11, 2021 10:56:52 GMT -8
Post by David on May 11, 2021 10:56:52 GMT -8
Henderson, NV - The sport of arena/indoor football will be returning to the City of Lights once more.
On Tuesday morning, the Indoor Football League announced the sale of an expansion franchise to the ownership group of the National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights. The expansion team, based in the city of Henderson, Nevada, becomes the 18th team in the IFL and expect to play its inaugural season in 2022.
The Las Vegas IFL team will call the Dollar Loan Center, currently under construction, their home, along with the Golden Knights' developmental team, the Henderson Silver Knights of the American Hockey League. The new 6,000-seat arena is planned to open its doors early in 2022.
Golden Knights CEO and Chairman Bill Foley, in partnership with Dollar Loan Center Founder and CEO Chuck Brennan, will serve as the primary owners of the Las Vegas IFL team.
"Ever since the Golden Knights first arrived in Las Vegas, our community has surpassed all expectations to set a new standard as one of the best new markets in the sports world," said Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley. "Our Indoor Football League franchise will reflect the qualities and culture created by the Golden Knights and the Silver Knights, while giving the place we’re proud to call home an all-new #VegasBorn team to support with passion and enthusiasm."
The press conference officially announcing the addition of Las Vegas will take place at Dollar Loan Center on Tuesday, May 11th at 2:30 p.m. (PST), along with the Mayor of Henderson, Debra March.
"Henderson is truly becoming a professional sports hub with the addition of an Indoor Football League franchise," said Mayor March. "The City applauds the Golden Knights continued investment in Henderson, which not only enhances the entertainment value and recreational opportunities offered to residents at the Dollar Loan Center, but also benefits the many local businesses that support their teams."
The team has already opened up season ticket package deposits, priced at $50.00, on their website at VegasIndoorFootball.com.
Commissioner Todd Tyron said of the Las Vegas team, "Our league just got better today with the announcement of not only a great market in Vegas, but an even better ownership group. The IFL prides itself in attracting quality owners and Team Foley and Team Brennan sure fit that mold. We are looking forward to 2022 and the many ways this new franchise will contribute to our great league."
In addition to Las Vegas, the Columbus Wild Dogs will also be joining the league in 2022. Columbus, which was granted expansion on December 12th, 2019 with the intent to play in 2021. However, on June 26th, 2020, the team postponed its entry until 2022 to provide a more successful launch due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A month later, on July 28th, 2020, Columbus unveiled its identity as the Wild Dogs.
Another expansion franchise, the Oakland Panthers, also look to begin play in 2022. Slated to begin play in 2020, the Panthers saw their inaugural season taken away by the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, Oakland opted to go dormant in 2021 with the intent to return in 2022, along with the Cedar Rapids River Kings, Quad City Steamwheelers, and San Diego Strike Force.
The IFL's 2021 season is already underway, as the season began on April 23rd with the Bismarck Bucks upsetting the Green Bay Blizzard 41-35. The Blizzard and Bucks, along with new teams in the Massachusetts Pirates and Louisville Xtreme, have already played at least two games while the six of the eight other franchises are set to begin their seasons in Week 4.
The City of Las Vegas is no stranger to the world of arena/indoor football. The city itself was the home of three Arena Football League franchises: the Las Vegas Sting, Las Vegas Gladiators (2003-2007) and the ill-fated Las Vegas Outlaws (2015).
The first franchise, the Sting, played in Las Vegas from 1994-1995 as an expansion team. Las Vegas played at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 1994 before moving to the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1995. The Sting went 11-13 in two seasons with one playoff appearance before relocating to Anaheim the next season, re-branding as the Piranhas (1996-1997).
The second franchise, the Gladiators, played in Las Vegas from 2003-2007 after relocating from East Rutherford, New Jersey (1997-2002). The Gladiators played at the Thomas & Mack Center from 2003-2006, before moving to Orleans Arena in 2007 in an attempt to boost attendance. Unfortunately, the gamble did not pay off, as the Gladiators attendance dipped in what would ultimately be the team's final season in Las Vegas. The Gladiators went 31-50 in five seasons, with one playoff appearance (2003). The team never finished above 8 wins, and would relocate to Cleveland the following season. The Cleveland era would prove to me more successful, as the Gladiators would make the playoffs six times including an appearance in ArenaBowl XXVII in 2014. The team went dormant after 2017 and would eventually fold when the AFL folded in late 2019.
The third franchise, the Outlaws, played in Las Vegas in 2015. Unrelated to the Outlaws team of the XFL (2001), this version of the Outlaws was owned by Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil. The Outlaws initially were to play at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but instead played at the Thomas & Mack Center. The team's life was short lived, as 14 games into their season the team was taken over by the league due to financial issues and poor attendance. The team finished 5-12-1, qualifying for the 2015 playoffs, but the team was removed from playoff contention as the league immediately ceased operations.
With a more stable ownership, the new Las Vegas based team looks to thrive in Henderson where their predecessors failed.
"Having the Indoor Football League call the Dollar Loan Center its home is the icing on the cake for this amazing project.” said DLC Founder and CEO Chuck Brennan. "Henderson has a new sports epicenter and it is at the intersection of Green Valley Parkway and Paseo Verde Parkway. Mary and I are thrilled to partner with Mr. Foley to create the most exciting fan experience in the IFL."
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