After weeks of speculation about potential expansion teams, the Arena Football League announced on Tuesday that they will have a franchise in Atlantic, City N.J. this upcoming season. According to Michelle Brunetti of the Atlantic City Press, the Casino Redevelopment Development approved a plan for the team.
The new franchise in Atlantic City will officially give the Arena Football League five teams. Last season, the league only had four teams (Baltimore Brigade, Washington Valor, Philadelphia Soul, and Albany Empire) after having teams in Tampa Bay and Cleveland the previous season.
Last week, Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times-Union reported that there could be another expansion team coming in addition to Atlantic City. Trifecta Sports and Entertainment (TSE) will run the new franchise in Atlantic City. Fans will also have a chance to vote online for a team name, while the team searches for a head coach.
Philadelphia Soul majority owner and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, who is the AFL’s executive committee chair and TSE owner is also excited about football being in Atlantic City.
“I couldn’t be more excited that Arena Football is coming to Atlantic City,” he said. “We are going to bring a family-friendly, affordable entertainment product to AC, and bring a team that will become an integral part of the community, giving people in the area a team to be proud to call their hometown team.”
Jaworski along with former Super Bowl-winning NFL head coach Dick Vermeil, former NFL players Marques Colston and Jahri Evans and others are a part of TSE, which also owns the Soul and Empire.
Furthermore, new AFL commissioner Randall Boe is excited about the league coming to the shore.
Atlantic City is a great market for the Arena Football League,” he said via the team’s website. “The AFL is focused on fan engagement and the integration of sports betting, fantasy and fan gamification with our games. Atlantic City is a perfect fit with that strategy and will be a great city for the Arena Football League.”
This is not the first time that Atlantic City has had indoor football in its backyard. In 2004, they had a team called the Cardsharks, which played in the defunct National Indoor Football League.
Just like the old Cardsharks, the new AFL team will be playing their games at Boardwalk Hall. The 12-week regular season is reportedly scheduled to begin on the weekend of April 20-21 with the Arena Bowl potentially happening on Aug.10.