Spokane Journal of Business

You ready for some arena ball?

Los Angeles franchise plans visit to Spokane in hopes of starting club

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Football players aspiring to be the next Kurt Warner could be playing in Spokane if the owners of the Los Angeles Avengers, an Arena Football League franchise, decide to start a team here.

Kevin Demoff, Avengers vice president of business development, says a contingent from the Los Angeles franchise will be in Spokane next month to tour Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and investigate further the possibility of bringing in a developmental-league team here. Such a team would play in a league called Arenafootball2 that, skillwise, is one notch below the regular AFL and that feeds players to the AFL.

We want Spokane to work, Demoff says. Based on our research, Spokane would be great for af2.

For the af2 level, he says, franchises typically look for areas with a population of between 300,000 and 1 million, with hopes of drawing about 7,500 spectators to each game.

The Los Angeles franchise is considering Spokane because it has read about the Spokane Arenas quality facilities and the success of the Spokane Chiefs minor-league hockey team there, which Demoff says can be a good indicator of how an arena football franchise will fare.

Additionally, arena football teams try to recruit local talent to play, and he says Inland Northwest colleges have remained fairly untapped by arena leagues.

Currently, the af2 has two divisions with a total of 15 teams, mostly in the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S.

The league is in the process of starting a Western division that will start play in 2002.

The Avengers plan to start three teams in that Western division. Demoff says it already has committed to forming a team in Bakersfield, Calif., and is looking into starting one in Fresno, Calif., in addition to Spokane.

Arena football is played with eight-player squads on an indoor field thats 50 yards long, with nets placed at each end off of which players can catch the ball to make plays. Its season starts in April and ends in August.

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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