Arena Football coming back to Minnesota when league reforms in 2024
(ABC 6 News) – An announcement from the recently-reorganized Arena Football League lists Minnesota as one of sixteen locations for teams when the league reforms in 2024.
IYKYK 🙌 16 Locations Announced. MORE TO COME. pic.twitter.com/SjeR0azZyF— Arena Football League (@OfficialAFL) July 18, 2023
A report by TMZ says the Minnesota franchise will play in St. Paul.
Other locales mentioned in the announcement are: Austin, Boise, California, Chicago, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, Orlando, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tallahassee, Tennessee, Washington and West Texas.
Arena football is an adaptation of the outdoor game played in indoor arenas generally setup for basketball or hockey. It features a short field surrounded by padded hockey boards. Nets are strung the width of the field behind the endzones. Any kicks bouncing off the nets remain in play as live balls.
According to the announcement, Hutton is the first black commissioner for an American professional sports league.
“The Arena Football League brand has always sat at the promontory of indoor football by offering gridiron entertainment, fast action, and iron tough athletes in conjunction with delivering a family fun fan experience that uniquely engages the pigskin enthusiast. Ultimately, the professional sports brand speaks for itself and is proud to announce, ‘We are back!’”Lee Hutton, Arena Football League commissioner, in a February 1, 2023 press release
The initial announcement stated play will begin in 2024, with sixteen teams playing a ten-game regular season.
The Arena Football league began play with four teams in 1987, steadily grew through the 1990’s, peaking in the early 2000’s.
Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner, sparked his eventually legendary pro career playing three seasons with the AFL’s Iowa Barnstormers from 1995-1997.
The league declined and went into bankruptcy in 2009, attempted a revival, contracted, reorganized then – playing with just six teams clustered in the Northeast region of the U.S. – suddenly ceased operation in November, 2019.
Minnesota briefly had a franchise in the original Arena Football League.
The Minnesota Fighting Pike played the 1996 season, going 4-10 (0-7 in home games at the Target Center). Former Gophers quarterback Ricky Foggie played for the Fighting Pike. Future NFL kicker Mike Vanderjagt was also on the team.
Minnesota was previously included in an announcement of a smaller indoor football league called “The Arena League” will also form and begin play in 2024.
Among it’s four inaugural teams is a still-unnamed team that will play at the DECC in Duluth. The other three teams will be in Springfield, Missouri; Waterloo, Iowa and Kansas City.