It was announced today that Cleveland will have an Arena League team starting in ’08. The team, currently the Las Vegas Gladiators, will move to the Q and be renamed. (Thanks to Deadspin for the tip.) Cleveland’s favorite QB Bernie Kosar will be the team president and part owner. Here is the official release from the AFL website.
“I have always believed that Cleveland would be a perfect market for Arena Football. I am honored to be a part of bringing a great product here and look forward to bringing an ArenaBowl championship to my hometown,” said Kosar.
Uh, Bernie. Cleveland had an AFL team. They were called the Thunderbolts. They played here from 1992-1994. They had an 8-26 record, with one playoff appearance (a loss). They moved on due to lack of support. I understand that the Arena League is in much better shape now than it was back in the early 90’s. But you have to question the timing here.
First, you have the Cavs who are winning and drawing well. They are certainly the big ticket in the winter months. Then you have the new Lake Erie Monsters hockey team, who started this season in case you missed it, also playing at the Q. Cleveland has typically not done well in supporting an additional sports franchise. The Cleveland Force were probably the most successful franchise, but they also won several titles in their day. Let’s face facts, the Cavs were not very good during their run.
My guess is that one of these teams will not make it long. And given hockey’s history in this town, I’d place a wager that the Monsters will be the first to go. Kosar is a name that people identify with, and many will go just because it’s football and Bernie is attached to it.
Sorry Monsters. Hockey fans better get their fill quickly.