Sign in to follow this  
Tannerman

AFL Indiana Firebirds cease operations

Recommended Posts

The ebb-and-flow of the Arena Football League just killed another franchise.

Owner pulls plug on Firebirds

By Jeff Rabjohns

September 8, 2004

Indiana Firebirds owner Dave Lageschulte said today that the Arena Football League team has been shut down after four years in Indianapolis.

"As of today, we are ceasing operation of the Firebirds," Lageschulte said.

Lageschulte purchased the Firebirds in 2002 from Glenn Mazula, who had owned the team since its inception in 1990 in Albany, N.Y. Mazula moved the team to Indianapolis in 2001.  Lageschulte, who resides in Florida, had been seeking local ownership of the team. "There's been a lot of talk the past few weeks and a lot of interest, but we were just never able to find a local owner unfortunately, Arena football is leaving Indianapolis." He said.

Lageschulte estimated the team's losses in his two years of ownership at "several million" dollars.  "It's a great sport and I love it, but it just didn't work out," he said.

Firebirds General Manager John Kolner said the league told him it is extending the deadline for a potential buyer to Sept. 20. However, since Lageschulte is ceasing operation of Lags Football, LLC, which ran the team, only the rights to the team are for sale.

"The team has ceased operations and the staff is no longer employed," Kolner said. "Hopefully some sort of local ownership can be found in the next week."

Indiana was a good franchise, and probably got screwed over by a bad owner. The owner lives in Florida and was rumored to want to move the team down there. Obviously, that didn't happen. Losing this team really kills any rivalry Chicago has with teams in our division. The Chicago/Indy battles were some of the best.

It's also been rumored that Detroit's team is dead, so that pretty much leaves Grand Rapids as the closest road trip for us next season. (Maybe it's a curse that we've been putting on these teams. We attended games in Indy, Detroit, and Grand Rapids, and now 2 out of 3 are folding!). The current Central Division is looking kinda empty:

image_grandrapids_afl1.gif

I see realignment coming on quickly! Maybe next year my wife and I will have to expand our radius a little and drive to Columbus, OH, and Nashville, TN, for games.

We've always been big supporters and defenders of the AFL, but this just smacks of bad stuff for the league. It seems like every season a team is moving, folding, being added. There is no stability. We had 19 teams this past season. Heading into 2005, up until Indiana folded, we had 20 (with the addition of Nashville). Now we are back at 19, and will probably be at 18 once Detroit finally throws in the towel.

It looks like a lot of these teams that are in trouble have had weak ownership groups. They just weren't prepared to field teams with the AFL operating at a more hyped level. I'm thankful our ownership group in Chicago is pretty sound. (At least, I think it is -- who knows). Still, this whole thing just smacks of 2nd tier sports leagues, and frankly, I think the AFL deserves that kind of wrap right now. They sure haven't earned much prestige in the offseason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UH, Kansas City is ready for a TEAM!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a shame that these franchises couldn't be sold to owners in markets that might better support arena football. I wonder if there's a dispersal draft or if Nashville gets first crack at 'em. The fight over Adrian McPherson should be interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad to see the Firebirds go.

BTW, somewhere on the board, it was mentioned that Salt Lake City might get a team. Anyone here anything else about that?

Dilberts choices for AFL expansion

Kansas City

St.Louis

Seattle

Washington, DC

Minneapolis/St.Paul

Dilberts choice for " for the love of pina coladas, JUST KILL THIS FRANCHISE NOW!!"

Carolina

Detroit

Grand Rapids( dont kill this team, but rather move to AF2)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a shame that these franchises couldn't be sold to owners in markets that might better support arena football. I wonder if there's a dispersal draft or if Nashville gets first crack at 'em. The fight over Adrian McPherson should be interesting.

Carolina had it during their first two years in Raleigh, but they pissed fan loyalty away by firing Doug Kay as head coach and opting to go cheap the following off-season with player signings.

They moved to Charlotte allegedly because of the move in the AFL's schedule, but their incompetent ownership and management has only resulted in the team's continual decline in box office appeal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this