HOUSE SAYS HE NEEDS MORE SUPPORT FROM FANS
By Ben Roberts
Lexington Horsemen owner Lennie House said last night that he is "strongly considering" folding the team.
House, who was an original Horsemen investor when the team formed in 2003, took over sole operation of the franchise midway through the 2005 season.
House said his family's financial losses from the Horsemen have been "in the millions," but he pointed to the team's lack of support within the community as the primary reason for shutting down operations.
"I've done all I can," House said. "If Kentucky had responded, then we would be here forever. But I don't think my family and I can do this anymore.
"Unless I hear a great deal of outcry from the community, this is it."
The Horsemen had 10,004 fans at Rupp Arena for their first home game in 2003, and they averaged more than 7,000 for their first season.
But attendance has dwindled since, with the team managing just fewer than 3,000 fans this season. There were 2,669 in attendance for Lexington's playoff win over Bloomington last month.
The team limped to an 8-7 regular-season record this year before making a run to the United Indoor Football championship game, where they narrowly lost to undefeated Sioux Falls. General Manager Champ Kelly and Coach Mike Zuckerman also announced their resignations midway through the year.
House said he had considered leaving the UIF for the 30-team Arena Football 2 League, which includes franchises in Louisville and Cincinnati. He said he had some discussions with league officials about joining, but he won't go forward unless he feels support from the community.
House didn't specify what support he would have to see to keep the team going:
"We have a small base of ardent fans, but it's not enough. We needed more support. I don't want to do it, but I think we're going to fold."
Accused of being a Cyber Terrorist by Joe Newman.
This league (NIFL) is like a frickin' cockroach. You could throw a nuclear bomb at it and it would still survive
So I'd rather spend a quarter of an ABA franchise to repair my car, as opposed to spending a franchise and a half to get a new car that might have some planned obsolescence that causes it to break down 5 days after the end of the warranty period.
-Chuck the Writer
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Tallahassee is a great addition to the WIFL. A great team for a great league.
Hopefully we will be hearing about one or two more teams soon.