Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Arena Football League (1987-Today)

leave a comment

1987 Arena Football League Media GuideThe original Arena Football League was a patented 50-yard indoor football game system developed by a former NFL employee named Jim Foster.  Foster first came up with the idea while watching a Major Indoor Soccer League match at Madison Square Garden in 1981.  It took six years for Foster to fully develop the concept and launch the league in 1987. The first season was modest but Arena Football had an ESPN contract for that first campaign, which helped Foster’s strange little league gain a modest measure of national attention.

The league muddled along in fits and starts through the rest of the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s.  Towards the end of the Nineties a sequence of events came together to raise Arena Football’s profile.  In 1998, ABC broadcast Arena Bowl XII to a national broadcast audience on Wide World of Sports.  Two years later, a former grocery store clerk and Arena Football star named Kurt Warner rose from obscurity to win first the St. Louis Rams’ quarterback job and then MVP honors in Super Bowl XXXIV.

As the 2000’s dawned, Arena Football franchise valuations shot upwards.  Expansion fees increased from $250,000 in 1993 to $16.2 million in 2003.  A national broadcast contract with NBC made the league sexier to speculators, as did the influx of investment from the National Football League.  Eventually six NFL ownership groups would purchase Arena Football franchises in the early 2000’s: the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans.

1991 Arena Football League Media GuideFor a time the league gorged on fat expansion fees and trumpeted rising attendance, which helped to paper over large operational losses. But by the mid-2000’s, the expansion pipeline began to dry up.  The Lions, Saints and Titans shuttered their Arena League franchises. The bubble burst when the 2009 season was cancelled as league attempted a financial restructuring. The effort failed and the original league closed down and filed for bankruptcy in August 2009.

Throughout the 2000’s, the Arena Football League had an affiliated “minor league” known as AF2, which ran lower-budget clubs in small markets like Shreveport, Spokane and Tulsa.  A group of AF2 investors plus a few of the non-NFL investors in the original Arena League banded together to purchase the intellectual property rights to Arena Football from the bankruptcy court for $6.1 million in late 2009.

This group of owners re-launched the Arena Football League in 2010 and claims the records and history of the original 1987-2008 league.  In a few cases, franchise names and owners carried over between the two leagues. But for the most part, the new league is substantially poorer and less disciplined than the original organization.  Today, Arena Football’s attendance, sponsorship and media prospects are markedly diminished from where the sport stood a decade ago. In effect, the sport has returned to the “muddling along” status of the early 1990’s.

 

==1987-2008 Franchise List==

 

Franchise Years Active Home Page Tagged Posts
Albany Firebirds 1990-2000 Firebirds Home Tagged Posts
Anaheim Piranhas 1996-1997 Piranhas Home Tagged Posts
Arizona Rattlers 1992-2008 Rattlers Home Tagged Posts
Austin Wranglers 2004-2007 Wranglers Home Tagged Posts
Buffalo Destroyers 1999-2003 Destroyers Home Tagged Posts
Carolina Cobras 2000-2004 Cobras Home Tagged Posts
Charlotte Rage 1992-1996 Rage Home Tagged Posts
Chicago Bruisers 1987-1989 Bruisers Home Tagged Posts
Chicago Rush 2001-2008 Rush Home Tagged Posts
Cincinnati Rockers 1992-1993 Rockers Home Tagged Posts
Cleveland Gladiators 2008 Gladiators Home Tagged Posts
Cleveland Thunderbolts 1992-1994 Thunderbolts Home Tagged Posts
Colorado Crush 2003-2008 Crush Home Tagged Posts
Columbus Destroyers 2004-2008 Destroyers Home Tagged Posts
Columbus Thunderbolts 1991 Thunderbolts Home Tagged Posts
Connecticut Coyotes 1995-1996 Coyotes Home Tagged Posts
Dallas Desperados 2002-2008 Desperados Home Tagged Posts
Dallas Texans 1990-1993 Texans Home Tagged Posts
Denver Dynamite 1987 & 1989-1991 Dynamite Home Tagged Posts
Detroit Drive 1988-1993 Drive Home Tagged Posts
Detroit Fury 2001-2004 Fury Home Tagged Posts
Florida Bobcats 1996-2001 Bobcats Home Tagged Posts
Fort Worth Cavalry 1994 Cavalry Home Tagged Posts
Georgia Force 2002-2008 Force  Home Tagged Posts
Grand Rapids (MI) Rampage 1998-2008 Rampage Home Tagged Posts
Houston Thunderbears 1998-2001 Thunderbears Home Tagged Posts
Indiana Firebirds 2001-2004 Firebirds Home Tagged Posts
Iowa Barnstormers 1995-2000 Barnstormers Home Tagged Posts
Kansas City Brigade 2006-2008 Brigade Home Tagged Posts
Las Vegas Gladiators 2003-2007 Gladiators Home Tagged Posts
Las Vegas Sting 1994-1995 Sting Home Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Avengers 2000-2008 Avengers Home Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Cobras 1988 Cobras Home Tagged Posts
Maryland Commandos 1989 Commandos Home Tagged Posts
Massachusetts Marauders 1994 Marauders Home Tagged Posts
Memphis Pharaohs 1995-1996 Pharaohs Home Tagged Posts
Miami Hooters 1993-1995 Hooters Home Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Mustangs 1994-2001 Mustangs Home Tagged Posts
Minnesota Fighting Pike 1996 Fighting Pike Home Tagged Posts
Nashville Kats 1997-2001 & 2005-2007 Kats Home Tagged Posts
New England Sea Wolves 1999-2000 Sea Wolves Home Tagged Posts
New England Steamrollers 1988 Steamrollers Home Tagged Posts
New Jersey Gladiators 2001-2002 Gladiators Home Tagged Posts
New Jersey Red Dogs 1997-2000 Red Dogs Home Tagged Posts
New Orleans Night 1991-1992 Night Home Tagged Posts
New Orleans Voodoo 2004-2005 & 2007-2008 Voodoo Home Tagged Posts
New York Cityhawks 1997-1998 Cityhawks Home Tagged Posts
New York Dragons 2001-2008 Dragons Home Tagged Posts
New York Knights 1988 Knights Home Tagged Posts
Oklahoma Wranglers 2000-2001 Wranglers Home Tagged Posts
Orlando Predators 1991-1008 Predators Home Tagged Posts
Philadelphia Soul 2004-2008 Soul Home Tagged Posts
Pittsburgh Gladiators 1987-1990 Gladiators Home Tagged Posts
Portland Forest Dragons 1997-1999 Forest Dragons Home Tagged Posts
Sacramento Attack 1992 Attack Home Tagged Posts
San Antonio Force 1992 Force Home Tagged Posts
San Jose Sabercats 1995-2008 Sabercats Home Tagged Posts
St. Louis Stampede 1995-1996 Stampede Home Tagged Posts
Tampa Bay Storm 1991-2008 Storm Home Tagged Posts
Texas Terror 1996-1997 Terror Home Tagged Posts
Toronto Phantoms 2001-2002 Phantoms Home Tagged Posts
Utah Blaze 2006-2008 Blaze Home Tagged Posts
Washington Commandos 1987 & 1990 Commandos Home Tagged Posts

 

 

==2010-Present Franchise List==

Franchise Years Active Home Page Tagged Posts
Alabama Vipers 2010 Vipers Home Tagged Posts
Arizona Rattlers 2010-Present Rattlers Home Tagged Posts
Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings 2010 Battle Wings Home Tagged Posts
Chicago Rush 2010-2013 Rush Home Tagged Posts
Cleveland Gladiators 2010-Present Gladiators Home Tagged Posts
Dallas Vigilantes 2010-2011 Vigilantes Home Tagged Posts
Georgia Force 2011-2012 Force Home Tagged Posts
Iowa Barnstormers 2010-2014 Barnstormers Home Tagged Posts
Jacksonville Sharks 2010-Present Sharks Home Tagged Posts
Kansas City Command 2011-2012 Command Home Tagged Posts
Las Vegas Outlaws 2015-Present Outlaws Home Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Iron 2010 Iron Home Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Mustangs 2011-2012 Mustangs Home Tagged Posts
New Orleans Voodoo 2011-Present Voodoo Home Tagged Posts
Orlando Predators 2010-Present Predators Home Tagged Posts
Philadelphia Soul 2011-Present Soul Home Tagged Posts
Pittsburgh Power 2010-2014 Power Home Tagged Posts
San Antonio Talons 2012-2014 Talons Home Tagged Posts
San Jose Sabercats 2011-Today Sabercats Home Tagged Posts
Spokane Shock 2010-Today Shock Home Tagged Posts
Tampa Bay Storm 2010-Today Storm Home Tagged Posts
Tulsa Talons 2010-2011 Talons Home Tagged Posts
Utah Blaze 2010-2013 Blaze Home Tagged Posts
Washington Commandos 1987 & 1990 Commandos Home Tagged Posts

Written by andycrossley

March 25th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Posted in

Leave a Reply