Officials with a new arena football league were in Springfield today to announce the Queen City as the site of its first team.
The Arena League is in the process of selecting four teams for its inaugural season beginning in June 2024, according to a news release. Springfield’s yet-to-be named team will play an eight-game schedule with home games to be at the Wilson Logistics Arena, currently under construction at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.
NFL Hall of Famer and NCAA Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown is commissioner of The Arena League, which announced last month that Springfield was among 10 finalists to join the venture. The league is running a vote on its website to determine the team locations. Three additional teams are expected to be announced by league officials in the coming months.
“Not only did the people of Springfield lead the voting by a wide margin, but the reception that we received from Aaron Owen and his staff at the fairgrounds, the leaders at the chamber and other city officials was overwhelming,” Brown said in the release. “We are very proud to announce Springfield, Missouri, at the first-ever community to host a team in The Arena League.”
Springfield’s vote totals were not included in today’s news release, and officials didn’t return messages seeking additional information by deadline.
“Football at Wilson Logistics Arena will be a remarkable experience from parking to sight lines and close proximity to the action all the way through to the post-game autograph sessions,” said Owen, Ozark Empire Fairgrounds general manager, in the release. “We are very proud to be hosting The Arena League.”
The fairgrounds broke ground in November on the $25 million, 99,000-square-foot building that also will serve as a youth agriculture education center, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Ozark Empire Fair is serving as its own general contractor for the project designed by BRP Architects. Killian Construction Co. is the construction management company for the project, slated for completion in September 2023.
The Springfield team is now accepting deposits – starting at $10 per seat – on season tickets which start at $90, according to the release. Tickets to individual games begin at $15 for adults and $10 for ages 12 and younger.
As for the team’s name, league officials said in the release they’ll be seeking input from the Springfield community. A name-the-team contest is being launched, although details on how public submissions will be tallied weren’t noted in the release.
According to the league website, arena football games will be played on a 50-yard indoor field with team rosters of 15 players. Additionally, participants play both offense and defense, and games are designed to be fast paced with a quick play clock and no huddles.
More on The Arena League will be included in the March 20 issue of Springfield Business Journal.
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