NFL Hall of Famer and NCAA Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown is introducing a new arena football league, and Springfield is on the short list for a team.
Springfield is one of 10 finalists for The Arena League, which is scheduled to debut in 2024, according to a news release.
"Springfield is an incredible community. The new arena is a huge plus," Brown said in the release, referring to the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds and Event Center's arena that's under construction.
The fairgrounds broke ground on the $25 million, 99,000-square-foot building in November, according to past reporting. It's slated for completion in mid-September 2023.
The Arena League is running a vote on its website to determine the team locations. An Ozark Empire Fairgrounds spokesperson could not be reached for comment by deadline, though the organization has posted a link to the voting website on its Facebook page. Additionally, the local Queen City Insane Asylum semipro football team posted about The Arena League on its Facebook page: “Interesting! I know a perfect team for professional indoor in Springfield!”
The other finalist cities, in alphabetical order, are:
• Dubuque, Iowa;
• Duluth, Minnesota;
• Kansas City;
• Little Rock, Arkansas;
• Oklahoma City;
• Rochester, Minnesota;
• Rockford, Illinois;
• Waterloo, Iowa; and
• Wichita Falls, Texas.
The Arena League plans to launch the inaugural season with four to eight teams, according to the release. Team location announcements are expected to begin next month and conclude in June, a year before the first game is played.
“Boundaries will be pushed, with one goal, to make this game fun for our fans," Brown said in the release. "New rules will be implemented, and this style of football will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen."
Brown was a standout receiver for University of Notre Dame who played 17 seasons for the NFL Raiders franchise, according to ProFootballHOF.com.
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