Jungle Kats introduced in Cincinnati
This afternoon, CAF Holdings, LLC, a privately owned company, announced that it had purchased the operating rights for an Arena Football team in play in Cincinnati beginning in early April 2007. The new team, which will play in the af2 (arena football 2 league), will be known as the Cincinnati Jungle Kats.
It will be the third time that Arena Football has come to the Queen City. Home games will be played at U.S. Bank Arena, which has been the home of the previous two tenants.
CAF Holdings, LLC, is a corporation made up of several individuals with diverse backgrounds and strong ties to the Cincinnati area. Sam Adams, who currently plays for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals has been the driving force behind the return of Arena Football to Cincinnati. Ken Griffey, Jr.,a native of Cincinnati and a current member of the Cincinnati Reds and Dr.Timothy Kremchek, a longtime surgeon in the Cincinnati area are the other principle owners.
"This is a time of celebration in Cincinnati," Sam Adams said. "I believe a great deal in Arena Football and being involved with af2 is something to feel good about. Cincinnati is a terrific football town and for us to be able to bring this team here, is something to be excited about."
The Jungle Kats become the newest member of af2, playing in the American Conference. Their 16 game schedule will begin in late March.
"We're excited to be able to bring the total entertainment experience of Arena Football back to the great fans of Cincinnati," said af2 President Jerry Kurz. "This operating group is top-notch, led by a cast of individuals who are well known and well respected in the local community. As a result, we (af2) feel confident in their commitment to run a successful organization both on and off the field for many years."
The Jungle Kats will be the third entry by a Cincinnati team into the Arena Football brand. The first entry, the Cincinnati Rockers featured former Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Art Schlichter and 1993 All-Star Game participant Don Sellars. Former University of Kentucky Head Coach Fran Curci guided the 1992 team to a 7-3 record, finished second in the Northern Division standings and averaged 13,682 fans per game. That club lost in the ArenaBowl semifinals to 9-1 Tampa Bay by a 41-36 count. The following year, 1993, the club was 2-10 and averaged 7232 fans per contest. The Rockers were owned by legendary Cincinnati restaurant owner Ted Gregory and his sons. Ten years later, another entry, the Cincinnati Swarm, participated in af2 during the 2003 season. The Swarm, led by Head Coach Chris McKeown, turned in a 7-9 record and a second place finish in the Midwest Division of the Northern Conference. They averaged 4,222 fans per game. The Swarm was owned and operated by Buffalo, NY businessman Mark Hammister, the owner of the Buffalo Destroyers in the Arena Football League. Due to non-related business issues, Hammister sold his Arena Football interests in late 2003, with the Buffalo franchise relocating to Columbus, OH and the Cincinnati franchise not returning for 2004.
With its seventh season completed in August, af2 serves as a vehicle to bring Arena Football to small to midsize cities and as a developmental league with an unmatched history of sending players, coaches and officials to major professional football leagues each year. af2 operates under the same Mission Statement and Fans' Bill of Rights as the Arena Football League, which concluded its 20th season in June.
Of local note, Cincinnati Bengals safety Kevin Kaesviharn played two season in the AFL with the Iowa Barnstormers (1999-2000).
The Cincinnati Jungle Kats have a website (www.junglekatsfootball.com) and will operate their offices out of U.S. Bank Arena. The team can be reached via telephone at 513-381-TURF. Opportunities for purchasing season tickets and corporate packages will be announced shortly. A 'Pick Your Seat' promotion for the football team will be announced in the next few days and a Jungle Kats Fan Club is also being established.
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