by Paul Reeths
October 28, 2008 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
LAKE CHARLES, La. - The Louisiana Swashbucklers, one of indoor football's most successful franchises both on and off the field, have left the Indoor Football League for the new Southern Indoor Football League, owner Thom Hager announced today.
Hager informed the IFL owners of the Swashbucklers' pullout during a conference call this morning.
"I have nothing but respect and admiration for Tommy Benizio and his efforts to get the IFL up and running," Hager said of the IFL commissioner. "But the Swashbucklers have had to look at some serious business decisions.
"We can't continue operating in the red ... we need to have a smart business plan that gives us and our partners in other markets the opportunity to turn a profit while offering our growing fan and sponsorship bases a first-class, family-based entertainment product."
The Swashbucklers won the Intense Football League championships in 2007 and 2008, the latter with a perfect 16-0 record. The team's season ticket base has grown from 614 in its inaugural season to 3,182 this year.
"I was going to see our travel budget groing from $10,800 last year to over $56,000 this year," added Hager. "Rule number one is you have to build cash flow and assets. If you're not cash-flowing, you team is only worth depreciated assets."
Hager expects team budgets in the SIFL to be around $300,000 annually, as opposed to $400,000 to $500,000 in the IFL. He expects the league to have seven or eight teams in 2009.
More details on the SIFL will be announced shortly, according to Hager.