Port Huron Pirates to Play Post-Season Games in Flint
PORT HURON, Mich. - The never-defeated Port Huron Pirates professional indoor football team will play up to three post-season games at Perani Arena & Event Center in Flint as the franchise continues its search for a new home.
The Pirates (12-0) have completed their second undefeated regular season with a 46-12 rout of the Chicago Slaughter on June 16. The team is 24-0 in franchise history, but in May announced it will leave Port Huron after the completion of the season because of declining attendance and the city's decision to consider closing the team's publically owned venue, McMorran Arena, because of budget issues.
Perani Arena is one of the sites the team is considering as a home in 2008, and will use its slate of playoffs games as a test of the market. The first playoff game, against a TBD opponent, will be July 7. Based on the team's success, it's considered extremely likely the Pirates will host a second playoff game the following weekend, and then the championship game on July 28.
The team is not disclosing what other venues it is considering for 2008. Talks are actively under way, however, with the Perani Arena ownership and a deal could be reached soon. Financial terms of the post-season games will not be released.
The Pirates began play in 2006 as one of six charter teams in the Great Lakes Indoor Football League, which expanded to 14 teams in 2007 and changed its name to the Continental Indoor Football League. Despite the historic, record-setting efforts on the field, and intense one-on-one marketing efforts by the front office and players, the economics simply didn't work in Port Huron.
Attendance has slide to approximately 1,200 at each of the final two Pirates games at McMorran. The team needed 2,200 paying fans to break even. The ownership was willing to keep the team in Port Huron if enough revenue could be generated to break even. The dwindling numbers, which are believed to be fueled by the abnormally high unemployment rate in Port Huron and the area's overall economic malaise, have forced the Pirates ownership to seek a larger market and better arena deal.
Flint provides a central geographic location, is within easy driving distance for the loyal Port Huron fans that wish to come west on Interstate 69, and is a significantly larger, more diverse market.
Perani Arena is at 3501 Lapeer Road in Flint (www.peraniarena.com).
Statistics, rosters, game results and league information can be found at www.porthuronpirates.com.
The team name will remain the same until a permanent home is found.
WHO: The Port Huron Pirates are a charter member of the Continental Indoor Football League, originally the Great Lakes Indoor Football League. The Pirates completed a 12-0 regular season in 2007. In 2006, the team went 10-0 in the regular season and won two playoff games, including Great Lakes Bowl I. Overall, the franchise is 24-0 in two seasons. The Pirates roster is filled with veteran indoor players, major college players, players from Michigan colleges and several local players. All are signed to professional contracts.
WHAT: The Pirates play a variation of the indoor football game on synthetic turf. Games are seven-on-seven. The fields are encircled by hockey dasher boards with protective padded covers. Balls and players often end up in the stands. The rules are available on the league Web site, www.continentalindoorfootball.com.
WHERE: The Pirates played their home games at Port Huron's civically owned downtown facility, McMorran Arena, which has been home to several minor-league ice hockey teams, most recently the idled Port Huron Flags of the United Hockey League.
WHEN: The Pirates' first game in Flint will be at 7:30 p.m. July 7 against an opponent still to be determined. If the Pirates win, they'll host another playoff game the following weekend. Winning the Great Lakes Conference championship game will put the team into the Continental Bowl title game, to be played July 28.
WHY: The Pirates are leaving Port Huron because attendance numbers are too low, making continued existence in the city financially untenable. Flint provides the team a chance to test the market before committing to the full 2008 schedule.
TICKETS: Prices will be announced for each game, but will be affordable for all fans. The Perani ticket office number is (810) 744-0580.
• Discuss this story on the Continental Indoor Football League message board...
Continental Indoor Football League Stories from June 19, 2007
- Port Huron Pirates to Play Post-Season Games in Flint - Port Huron Pirates
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.