you do bring up some good points.
The AFL Wranglers averaged over 10,000 for their 4 years here and they were poked fun at for not being able to draw people. It still left the 15K arena 1/3 empty and looking bad.
The Express moved up a league and expanded the stadium while the Wranglers moved down a league and then that 15K arena looked deserted with only 3,500 in it. The biggest problem was the Erwin center was the only venue available in the Austin market and cost $20K per game to rent. $30k if there was another event the next couple of days and they needed a quick turn around.
Round Rock supports and loves the express, they are much easier to work with on the stadium deal and understand the benefits of having a team in the stadium. The University of Texas is very difficult to work with, they could care less about a minor league team. They give ZERO support to the team or community and flat out told the Wranglers to go ahead and move to San Antonio, we don't care. Notice they're called the Round Rock Express, not the Austin Express.
About you traveling to the Round Rock area to see the express, those of us that frequent the forums are a rare breed. We love out sport and road trips to watch are enjoyable. We can't be figured into the business plan equation, we're the icing on the cake so to say.
It also comes down to personal preference. Football is my favorite and hockey is second. I travel to watch them and make other plans around their schedule. I've been to express games, but it was always a free ticket and some of the times it was because one of my kids were involved with an event associated with the team or game. I don't care much for baseball and I realize many of their fans don't care about minor league football.
The media is a huge bonus, the express have always got the attention and word out to the public. The media never cared about the any of the Austin Indoor football team. Heck, they talk more about the new soccer team, the Aztecz than they ever did about the Ice Bats, Toros, or Wranglers. I've spoke with all three of the Sports editors at the Statesman and have been told flat out they care about the TurfCats or Wranglers before them.
What do they need 3 sports editiors for? The rarely follow local sports or actually write articles themselves. The live off of copy and paste from the AP wire. Most people get their national news and info about the major leagues from their computer. There are so many newspapers that ignote the local population and they wonder why subscriptions are plummeting.
People at the game this week saw two new players for the Turfcats,
RB - Tim Blackwell, a former Swashbuckle and OL - James Cardenas, who played for the af2 Wranglers in 2008 and the Corpus Christi Sharks this season. Now we've got both of the Cardenas brothers on the OL.
There will be a few new players getting a look at practice this week also and one in particular looks to have a shot at making the starting line up. You need 2 regular season games to be playoff eligible and there's only 3 weeks left in the season.
Home Field Advantage is on the Line
The TurfCats have completed their inaugural regular season home schedule with a record of 5-1 and have three road games left. Their only home loss was to the Acadiana MudBugs in week 1. This week they travel to Acadiana with a chance to seek revenge, even the series at 1-1 and win a Home Playoff game.
The T-Cats sit at 6-2 while the MudBugs currently are at 5-3. It would take a miracle finish for either Houma or Texas to move into the #3 seed, and one of them will miss the playoffs all together. The Swashbucklers sit at 8-1 still having to play Texas and Houma so it looks like theyve secured the #1 seed barring an unimaginable collapse in the next two weeks. The `Bucs close out the Regular season with a Bye in the final week.
This my friends leaves the #2 and 3# seeds between Austin and Acadiana which will be decided this Saturday. The winner of this weeks game will secure the #2 seed and a Home Playoff game and then face each other once again in Round 1 of the post season.
After this weeks match up Acadiana will have their final two games against Houma and Texas, while Austin will play Texas twice in 5 days, both on the road.
The final playoff spot will come down to 1-7 Houma and 1-5 Texas. Houma still has to play the swashbucklers, MudBugs, and Crunch probably finishing at 2-9. Texas also has to play the Swashbucklers, MudBugs, and Crunch, along with the TurfCats twice. The Hurricanes toughest stretch will be playing three games in six days, luckily for them all three are at home. It looks like they could also finish the season 2-9, unless they are beat up and exhausted from the 3 game stretch in a weeks time and the Crunch can pull an upset.
Upsets can rearrange this whole scenario as its built off the underdogs losing all of their games in the remaining three weeks of the season.
While a few people have been outspoken and negative all season, and a few others have puffed out their chest in ignorance to spout hatred towards the SIFL, but all in all its been a normal inaugural season. Sure, the league has encountered some problems and growing pains, what league hasnt?
We all know about the AFL, they fumbled their game plan of becoming the 5th Major league and priced themselves out of the 2009 season. This is still an ongoing experiment of restructuring the business plan but the ownership groups have barricaded themselves into small factions of dissent for each other.
The af2 currently seems to be the most stable as they finish up their 10th season, but are not without problems of their own. The Quad City Steamwheelers just had to be saved long enough to finish the season and their long term viability is still under review. Last season they returned to the Championship game being played at the Home of the highest seed, this year theyve flipped back to a neutral site game which has many of the fans in an uproar.
The Intense Football league and United Indoor Football league merged to form the Indoor Football league (IFL) and love to promote themselves as the Premier League. Even though this is also their inaugural season its not your standard expansion league or start up business venture. Both leagues in the merger were existing, and its filled with existing franchises not start ups.
Some IFL fans and even its commissioner Tommy Benizio have taken pot shots at the SIFL which is unprofessional and kind of funny. You would think the commissioner of a league would be more concerned with solving their own problems instead of attacking others. Mr. Benizio has been unable to form a coherent league as of yet while the Intense vs United is still an ugly sore festering under his nose as he thumbs it at others.
The IFL didnt verify information on league franchise applications and ended up punishing one of their teams by turning 5 wins into 5 losses. Thats a pretty severe punishment while the league accepts no responsibility for the error. Then another owner grabs the facemask of an opposing player and tries to give him his full vocabulary of George Carlins words you cant say on TV. Since this owner is a friend of Mr. Benizio all he got for his actions were a slap on the wrist and a $500 fine.
Now during this past weeks games one of their players sucker punches an official out of the blue and knocks him out. Well have to wait and see if the commissioner has the cahonies to deal with it appropriately. At least the player was arrested for assault and spent the night in jail. What can you expect from the players when owners play the role of Thug themselves?
These are only a few of the examples of difficulties going on in the 50 yard sport where many pretend to perfect while throwing rocks at others. I could list some similar issues in the 4 major leagues also but theres not enough room to do so.
That brings us to the SIFL, lets look a few of the issues people attack them for. Using the Florida Kings as a Road Only team. One forum poster tries to tell us how bad it is and the AFL never did it, when in fact they had more than one. The reason- The owner of the Pasadena team had serious health issues and was forced to postpone joining the league. Season ticket packages had been sold league wide and the league wanted to give the fans every game they deserved so a road only team was allowed to join.
Moving a Team in mid-season, another difficult situation that was handled well by the league. What is better, letting a team fold or finding an owner capable of improving the franchise? This also solved many problems caused by one franchise. Once again, the af2 had a similar situation this season with Quad cities.
A coach pulling his team off the field with seconds left on the clock. This was poor judgment by a good coach, a mistake he regrets and has apologized for. Still its better than an owner assaulting an opposing player as happened in another league.
We can debate these for ever, and if people carry on an adult conversation in doing so, fine. As to the Haters, theres no room for you here so move along. People need to climb down from their marble pedestals and accept a serving of reality. The 50 yard game, no matter the alphabet soup listed in front of their name are all just one part of a Niche Sport. You cant have a team in your area without a league, and you cant have a league without several teams.
Fans of individual leagues need to wake up and support the sport itself, you never know when your local team will fold or move. This sport is built around discretionary income from middle class fans and the economy is stretching all of our budgets thin. Teams come and go, leagues come and go, all youve got left are the players, staff, and fans. We all need to support each other or possibly fold together. Most fans dont choose the league they watch, they watch the league/team in their area. Theyve all got pock marks underneath their make up so you might want to look in the mirror before climbing up on your soap box of indignation.
Former LBJ and UT star now a Turfcat
Tuesday, 30 Jun 2009
myFOXaustin - Long after his stellar high school football career at LBJ, and his two successful seasons at the University of Texas, Shon Mitchell is still playing football in Austin.
The 35 year old pigskin journeyman is a member of the Austin Turfcats, the city's new Southern Indoor Football League squad.
"I love the game so much I can't even pull myself away at 35," joked Mitchell. "I've played in front of 100 people, I've played in front of 90,000. It's been fun. Playing football for me is a dream come true."
At LBJ in the early 90's, Mitchell sprinted into the spotlight as one of the state's top running backs. Later, he and backfield mate Ricky Williams helped the 'Horns win two straight conference titles. Mitchell capped his college career with a memorable 37-27 victory over third-ranked Nebraska in the '96 Big 12 Championship game.
"Playing with Ricky (Williams) and James Brown and them was a thrill winning all those championships," said Mitchell. "If we could have just won a national championship it would have been great to bring to the University of Texas."
A hamstring injury hurt any chances of Mitchell landing an NFL job out of college. Now, after arena-league stints and some time in NFL Europe, Mitchell is enjoying his time as a Turfcat defensive back - a position he said he wanted to play at UT under head coach John Mackovic.
Mitchell's biggest victory, however, will come later this summer. More than a decade after leaving UT, Mitchell has returned to the classroom to earn his degree in Youth and Community Studies.
"That's one of my mother's goals so that's one of my goals too is to be the first one out of the family to graduate," said Mitchell.
Posted on July 03, 2009 by Kasey Johns
AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Turfcats (7-2) will travel to College Station on Tuesday to take on the Texas Hurricanes (1-6) in a much-anticipated rematch between the two Texas teams in the Southern Indoor Football League. This game was originally scheduled for May 30 but was postponed due to Texas' arena issues.
The Turfcats are coming off of an exciting comeback victory over the Acadiana Mudbugs (5-4) on Monday where they clinched second place. The game had seven lead changes and a Turfcats double lateral for a touchdown. The last score change came with 3:17 seconds remaining in the game and put the Turfcats up by four points. The Turfcats scored one more touchdown making the final score 50-40. Gary Cooper finished six of 13 for 82 yards and a 46-yard touchdown pass to Robert Quiroga. Quiroga had five catches for 85 yards and one touchdown, Keith Clay had three touchdowns and Darrick Wallace ran the opening kickoff back for a score.
The Hurricanes are regrouping after the Louisiana Swashbucklers (9-1) went on a 56-6 second half scoring run to blow them out 78-26. The Hurricanes were only down by two points early in the third quarter but the Swashbucklers had a string of big scores and defensive stops to run away with the game. Hurricanes quarterback Michael Bishop had 141 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions, and was sacked five times.
The last meeting between the Turfcats and Hurricanes was decided by one score in the last minute of the game. The Hurricanes were up by two touchdowns early but the Turfcats narrowed the gap to 27-21 at halftime. The score was tied late in the fourth but Clay's touchdown run with 56 seconds left and Michael Catchings' fumble recovery with one second left sealed the Turfcats' win 41-34. The Turfcats also won the first meeting with the Hurricanes 38-20. Both games were played in Austin.
The Hurricanes will be out for blood looking to avenge these two losses and get a win with Bishop, their new quarterback. Not only will the Hurricanes have to fend off the Turfcats but they'll have to overcome a difficult schedule as well. The Hurricanes host the third place Acadiana Mudbugs on July 5, just two days before they host the Turfcats.
Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. at the Arctic Wolf Ice Center in College Station. Tickets will be available at the box office on game day. Live updates will be broadcast on Turfcats.com and Twitter.com/austinturfcats.
http://www.brazossports.com/football/Hu ... ppy-affair college station eagle newspaper
Tickets for the Saturday, July 18th Southern Indoor Football League playoff game between your Austin Turfcats and the Acadiana Mudbugs will go on sale on Monday, July 13th.
A special event will be held for 2009 season ticket holders at the Chili's at IH-35 and Stassney Lane from Noon until 7:00pm. There, season ticket holders will have the option of reserving their existing seats as well as being put at the "front of the line" for additional or upgraded seats when tickets go on sale to the general public Tuesday morning.
Ticket sales to the general public will begin at midnight on Tuesday, July 14th, and will only be done online at Turfcats.com. Tickets will be sold in a "best available" fashion and held at the box office Will-Call window on game day. Due to logistical issues, no ticket orders will be taken by phone for this playoff game.
Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office on Saturday. Kickoff is at 6:30pm; the box office and tailgating opens at 2:30pm and the arena opens at 5:30pm.
Tickets are $25/seat for a field-level ticket, $10/seat for the middle level, and $5/seat for the upper level.
For more information, e-mail [email protected] or visit Turfcats.com and click on the "Tickets" link.
Thank you for your support of your Austin Turfcats!!