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Founder of Arena Football League Named Peoria Pirates New Managing Local Owner

March 4, 2009 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Peoria Pirates News Release

PEORIA, IL - (March 3, 2009) Jim Foster, known to be an avid boater, has stayed true to form. After giving up the helm of a Mississippi steamwheeler he built and launched in 2000, he is now taking the wheel of an operating Pirate ship on the Illinois River. The Peoria Pirates today announce that Arena Football founder Jim Foster is joining the organization as its managing local owner. In addition to sheparding the Arena game from the back of a 9" X 12" manila envelope into a successful operating league as its first commissioner, Foster also founded and led the nearby Quad City Steamwheelers to a great deal of success from 2000-2006 as its managing owner. The Pirates closest rival won back to back af2 titles in 2000 with a perfect all-time pro-football record, 19-0 record and then repeated in 2001 with an 18-1 mark. The team also sold out the majority of its games during that time period and throughout his management was one of the top tier af2 teams in attendance. Foster also founded, owned and managed one of the AFL's most storied franchises, the Iowa Barnstormers, (Des Moines, 1995-2000) who played in two ArenaBowls, led by future NFL star QB, Kurt Warner.

He now moves south less than 100 miles to take over the reigns of the Pirates who have enjoyed some past success of their own as 2002 af2 champions with many capacity crowds rooting them on. Last year's 4-12 record combined with average crowds of 3,400 create both a challenge and an opportunity for both Foster and Head Coach Bruce Cowdrey to tackle head on. According to Foster, "I accepted the opportunity because my evaluation of the Peoria market indicates that there is still a good level of support for Arena Football and the Pirates if they can effectively and professionally operate a good organization in harmony with a competitive, winning team. I believe that can be achieved through hard work, innovative thinking, and a quality football team. I need to take the existing staff and begin the process of rebuilding a solid credible organization that meets and exceeds the expectations of the Peoria market.

One of the first areas I am going to address is a total review and adjustment of Pirates ticket pricing. Given the ongoing difficulties with the economy, I believe that we can make ticket pricing and ticket packages more fan user friendly. Changes will be announced soon and some cases we may have ticket holders who will be eligible for a partial refund.

There is a great deal of work to do in a short period of time, but hopefully we can make some noticeable, positive changes in the way we do business. Majority owner Doug MacGregor feels strongly about this direction or I would not have come on board. MacGregor had this to say about Foster joining the organization: "We are fortunate to gain the services of Jim Foster as he joins the Peoria Pirates as our managing local partner. He brings a wealth of passion, innovation and proven experience that should be valuable in growing the Pirates. I look forward to working with him in our ongoing commitment to the bringing high quality professional football to the Peoria market."

Jerry Kurz, President of the af2 stated, "I can't imagine a better opportunity for the Pirates organization and its fan base than to have Jim join the team. Not only are you getting the inventor of the game and founder of the Arena Football League as its first commissioner, but you are bringing in a very experienced professional whose lengthy record speaks for itself when it comes to building successful, winning organizations in both the af2 and the AFL. He is very creative and passionate about the game he invented."

Finally, Coach Bruce Cowdrey said, "Let's just pit it this way, it's like running the Yankees and you find out that instead of having to put Wally Pipp at the plate to bat, you are getting Lou Gehrig instead. I am very excited about the positive things that are going to happen with the Pirates moving forward both on and off the field this season."

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