I’ve mentioned, a couple of times, the “war” for indoor football fans in Richmond.
For the last two seasons, there have been two indoor teams – the Richmond Revolution of the IFL (they played their “indoor” season outdoors last spring at the failing SportsQuest complex after a successful first season at the Arthur Ashe Center), and the Richmond Raiders (of the AIFA in 2010, and SIFL in 2011) at the Richmond Coliseum.
Because of the boneheaded decision to play the indoor game outdoors, SportsQuest lost a lot of money on the 2011 season – enough where there won’t be a 2012 season. The Revolution are taking a “hiatus” until the SportsQuest arena is completed. Whenever that is.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses for the Raiders, either – nothing in indoor football is sunshine and roses – as the Raiders are going to be in their third league in three seasons come 2012. The AIFA, the Raiders’ first league, was broken into two pieces after the 2010 season. The Eastern piece was sold to the SIFL. The Western piece simply folded. The SIFL turned out to be a trainwreck – the league office basically disappeared for the second half of the season, and the league has since splintered into several pieces.
It’s not clear exactly which league the Raiders will join for 2012, but they have several choices. Part of the SIFL (mostly based in Texas) is forming a new league, and they may want the Raiders. The IFL is expected to try to get the Raiders to join, as the IFL’s commissioner and league office are located here, and it’s kind of embarrassing not to have a team in your headquarters city. The old AIFA may be reforming – but has a reputation for being flaky at best. And a league based in Ohio called the UIFL may want the Raiders – they just picked up the Erie franchise that Richmond played a few times last season. So the Raiders will be in a league, and with just one indoor franchise in town, they’ll probably sell more tickets.
All that’s left? Determining if indoor football can survive. That’s still an open question.
Meantime, we’re waiting on a possible announcement of an indoor lacrosse team in the new North American Lacrosse League… and maybe, someday, there’ll be hockey in Richmond again. Another hockey season is about to start without us. Sadly.
Fortunately, we have the Squirrels and the Kickers.