Lehigh Valley ownership and IFL officials were all on hand today.
Team Introduced Today in Press Conference at Stabler Arena
Lehigh Valley, Penn. (Thursday, July 8, 2010) – The Indoor Football League (IFL) began what is expected to be a heavy expansion into the Northeast today, with the official announcement of a Lehigh Valley franchise being made during a press conference at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena. The team will begin play in the IFL in 2011, and it is expected to be joined next year by additional organizations that will call the surrounding region of the country home.
“We are very pleased that Lehigh Valley will be the cornerstone of our expansion efforts in the Northeast,” IFL Commissioner Tommy Benizio stated. “The Clarks are model business people and citizens, and we feel confident that they will be model team owners and operators as well.”
Heading up the Lehigh Valley ownership group is Glenn Clark, a Pennsylvania native and graduate of East Stroudsburg University. Clark brings to the expansion franchise a wealth of business and marketing expertise, as well as a passion for the game of football. Currently, he is also the owner and president of Rockwood Programs, which is an insurance agency based in Wilmington, Delaware.
“One of the things I’ll tell you about us is that this team will belong to Lehigh Valley, not us,” Clark said today. “We’ll listen to the fans, we guarantee you’re going to have a fun time if you come to our games, and we didn’t come here to lose. We came here to win.”
Joining Clark in the front office as Assistant General Manager will be his son, Michael, who formerly worked as the IFL’s Director of Communications in 2009. He also spent time at the same post for the Kent Predators and La Crosse Spartans, both member clubs of the IFL.
“We searched a bunch of venues, and Stabler Arena and the Lehigh Valley were the perfect fit for us,” he commented. “We are lifelong Pennsylvanians, and we wanted to bring this fun, athletic sport back to the Lehigh Valley.”
Preceding the expansion IFL franchise at Stabler Arena was the Lehigh Valley Outlawz, which played three seasons in the Continental Indoor Football League.
As a league, the IFL was created in 2008 as a merger of the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football, and it has seen significant success over the past two years under the direction of Benizio. The 2010 season of the IFL, its second since the merger, saw the league grow from 19 clubs to the current 24 which competed this past year. With the announcement today of the Lehigh Valley franchise, Benizio also remarked that further expansion into the Northeast is currently under negotiation.
“With a presence, but a spare one, in the Northeast, the IFL is focused on earning additional, stable teams as additions to our lineup for the 2011 season and beyond,” he said.
The Lehigh Valley IFL team is currently running a “Name the Team” contest, and fans who would like to submit nominations can do so on the team website at www.lvindoorfootball.com.