Two Teams Joining Philadelphia Soul in 2011 AFL Expansion
San Jose, Calif. (Thursday, June 17, 2010) – The second rendition of the Arena Football League (AFL), which is currently in the first year of a comeback after sitting out 2009, has two more veteran franchises rejoining the league for its upcoming 2011 season. Just one day after the Philadelphia Soul formally announced its intentions to return to the AFL, the San Jose SaberCats and Kansas City Brigade have confirmed that each franchise will also return to the league next year.
"We are ecstatic to finally make this official," SaberCats co-owner Darren Arbet said. "The landscape of the new AFL has changed dramatically from what we were used to. Things will be different, but we intend to bring our loyal fans the same brand of quality football they have come to expect from the SaberCats organization."
San Jose won three league championships during its previous 14 years of operation, which was from 1995 until 2008, and the team also appeared in a fourth title game in 2008 before falling to Philadelphia. The SaberCats only missed the postseason twice during that run and also posted eight division championships on its resume.
"Our goal has always been to be part of the arena league again," Arbet continued. "We're just excited to be back in 2011. It's going to be the same everything."
Combined with the return of the Soul and Brigade, the announcement of the SaberCats rejoining the AFL capped off an outstanding week for Commissioner Jerry Kurz.
“We couldn't be happier to have a mainstay franchise like the San Jose SaberCats back in the AFL," Kurz stated. "When I think of the Arena Football League, I think SaberCats."
He also shared the same excitement regarding the return of the Brigade.
"Kansas City's enthusiasm for arena football is unmatched, and interested observers from around the country are floored by the passion of AFL fans in the market," Kurz remarked. "The expansion committee was impressed with Likens' family efforts to connect with the community and their resolve during a time of uncertainty."
The Brigade played its first AFL season in 2006 and spent its last two years in the Sprint Center, which is located in downtown Kansas City.
"The return of arena football presents a unique opportunity to give back to citizens throughout the region-both in the form of entertainment, as well as in community and charitable endeavors," said Chris Likens, who will lead the Brigade’s ownership group. "I always believed that arena football would return to Kansas City, we were simply awaiting the right circumstance. The optimal circumstance has presented itself, and as a lifelong Kansas Citian, I look forward to the opportunity of joining the legacy of generosity evidenced throughout this community, in and out of sports."
The AFL has a television deal with the NFL Network and airs a weekly game on Friday nights. At halftime of tomorrow’s Jacksonville Sharks at Orlando Predators game, Kurz will formerly address all of the AFL expansion for 2011. The league is currently wrapping up the 2010 season with 15 teams.
For all of the latest news on the Arena Football League, visit www.arenafootball.com.