Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Report: Arena Football League down to four teams, including Storm, after week of upheaval

Washington's fledgling Arena Football League team has yet to play a game, and after the league's week of massive upheaval, it's not clear when it will ultimately take the field.

Related News/Archive

The league shrank from nine to four franchises in a matter of days, after three teams ceased operations and two others decided to bolt for a competing indoor league. That leaves four teams still standing, including the Storm and the Washington Valor, which joined the league as an expansion franchise in March.

The Arena League's schedule typically runs from April to August each year. The league has not released a schedule for the 2017 season and, in the wake of this week's upheaval, has not publicly addressed any plans for next season.

Team owners held a conference call Thursday night to discuss the recent tumult, and the league issued a statement Friday morning saying it "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 addition of the Washington Valor this coming season provides a solid example of where we are headed," the statement continued. "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."

The other teams still in the Arena League are the Philadelphia Soul and the Cleveland Gladiators.

The Arena League has been on shaky ground for several years. It cancelled its 2009 season and has continuously tweaked its business model. The league had 12 teams in 2015 and fielded eight last season.

The Orlando Predators, an Arena team since 1991, were among those that discontinued operations this week, citing the uncertainty surrounding the league's future.

"The Orlando Predators have chosen to suspend team operations today due to the reduced number of teams remaining in the Arena Football League as well as pending disagreements with the league," the team said in a release. "Over the course of the past several years we have focused on building and growing our winning franchise, despite significant issues at the league level that have impaired our ability to be successful."

The Storm was Orlando's biggest rival; their games were nicknamed the "War on I-4."

"We are saddened to see our biggest rival close its doors and no longer operate," Storm president Derrick Brooks, the Bucs' Hall of Fame linebacker, said in a statement. "However, we will continue to support the Arena Football League and are looking forward to the upcoming 2017 season."

Teams in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles are also apparently ceasing operations, and the Jacksonville and Arizona franchises are reportedly leaving to join another indoor league. The Midwest-based Indoor Football League is the largest Arena competitor and will now have 11 teams, from Spokane, Wash., to Green Bay, Wis.

Jeff Bouchy, the Jacksonville Sharks' operating manager, said in a statement, "Now was the right time to move the Sharks into an exciting new league that will become the premier league in arena/indoor football. Other teams from the AFL are expected to join us in this new chapter in Sharks' history."

Times staff writer Aaron Torres contributed to this report.

Report: Arena Football League down to four teams, including Storm, after week of upheaval 10/15/16 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2016 12:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.