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af2 adds six expansion teams

by af2 Press Release
October 30, 2000 - arenafootball2 (af2)


af2 Press Release

CHICAGO (October 30, 2000) - arenafootball2's Board of Directors approved today the addition of six new teams into the league to begin play in the 2001 season. Baton Rouge, LA; Columbus, GA; Lincoln, NE; Peoria, IL; Rochester, NY; and Wichita, KS will all begin play in March 2001. With these additions, arenafootball2 is now up to 27 teams mostly located in the Midwest and Southeast regions, further demonstrating its commitment to grassroots football.

"We are thrilled to have these six new teams in the fold for the 2001 season," said af2 Executive Director Mary Ellen Garling. "To have four AFL owners as well as two proven sports operators, all with a successful track record, adds a tremendous amount of credibility while allowing us to further our goal of bringing the game of Arena Football to small to mid-sized communities through coast to coast expansion."

Baton Rouge, LA will be operated by Peter "Woody" Kern of the AFL's Tampa Bay Storm. This is Tampa Bay's second team in arenafootball2, Tampa Bay also is operator of the expansion Lafayette Roughnecks. Arena Football veteran Dave Whinham will serve as the team's General Manager and will run operations down in Baton Rouge. The team will play at the Riverside Centroplex on the campus of LSU.

The Columbus, GA franchise is owned and operated by Columbus Professional Football Club, LLC, a group of investors consisting of businessman Ed Randle, John Kehoe and Mike Sammond. Sammond, who helped launch the

af2's Birmingham Steeldogs last season, will serve as team's President and General Manager. The team will play at the 7,600-seat Columbus Civic Center.

The 10,000-seat Blue Cross arena will be the new home of the Rochester, NY af2 franchise. The AFL's Buffalo Destroyers and Rochester Sports Enterprises, LLC will operate the team. Mark Hammister will serve as Owner and Allan Vella will be President. Tim Peloza will run the day-to-day operations as General Manager. The Buffalo Destroyers of the AFL had one of the most successful start-ups of any expansion team averaging over 12,000 fans per game in their inaugural season back in 1999.

Lincoln, NE, Peoria,IL and Wichita, KS are the first three cities from the former IFL to be approved into arenafootball2. The IFL was acquired by arenafootball2 on October 20 in an asset purchase and sale agreement.

Lincoln, NE franchise is co-operated by local businessman Andrew Cheeseman and Mike Works. The Lightning had a successful 10-4 season last year and were co-divisional champions in the IFL. Joel Hupp will serve as the team's General Manager and the team will play in the Pershing Auditorium.

The Peoria, IL team will be operated by Orlando Predators Entertainment ("OPE"), the owners of the AFL's ArenaBowl Champion Orlando Predators. Jeff Bouchy will serve as the team's President. The Peoria Pirates of the IFL went undefeated and won a championship last year. The team will play at the Peoria Civic Center.

The AFL's Oklahoma Wranglers will operate the Wichita, KS franchise and will play at the 9,686-seat Kansas Coliseum. The Wranglers' front office will lend their Arena Football experience and their management expertise to the af2 team, working directly with the organization's local staff.

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