The National Arena League has announced that it will be adding four expansion franchises for the 2018 season. The four teams will be play in Boston, MA, Providence, RI, Orlando, FL and Richmond, VA.
Of all four teams coming into the league, only one of the teams have played a season of football before. The Richmond Roughriders finished perfect and won the Arena Pro Football Championship game. They will continue to play at the Richmond Coliseum.
The Boston franchise is rumored to be playing at the TD Garden. They would share the same arena as the NBA’s Boston Celtics. Orlando will play their home games at the Amway Center, where the Orlando Predators played last season. Providence’s team will play the Dunkin Donuts Center.
“We have realized that geographic locations of member teams is only a minor factor in the expansion and the growth of the NAL,” commissioner John Gregory said. “The most important factors are owners that have capable operators and a commitment and passion to arena football. We set no geographic boundaries or limitations on ourselves. We want the best partners.”
The league isn’t done working on expansion before their 2018 season, either. The deadline for teams interested in joining the league to apply for the league is Aug. 15.
“We feel that all member teams must be ready to go by mid-August in order to maintain a sound business model,” Gregory continued. “We are aiming for an October 1 schedule for our teams to maximize season ticket and group sales opportunities. It is football and we all love arena football, but it is the business of football and we must implement these strategies to maintain a strong foundation for success.”
Along with the new teams, the NAL announced that the Jacksonville Sharks, Columbus Lions, Monterrey Steel, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Jersey Flight, Georgia Firebirds and High Country Grizzlies have committed to returning to the league in 2018.
Jacksonville defeated Columbus 27-21 in the inaugural NAL championship game. Two other expansion franchises, the Corpus Christi Rage and the Dayton Wolfpack, both ceased operations during the season and will not be returning in 2018.