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Rush Fans Speak Out After Season Ticket Holder Letter

Adam Markowitz
Friday May 31, 2013

Here at ArenaFan, we are just like you all reading this article. We are the fans of the game, and we are here to support the fans of the Arena Football League and do what we can for you. On Thursday, the Chicago Rush issued This Letter to their season ticket holders, explaining that the July 27th game against the San Jose SaberCats was going to be moved to San Jose and the July 13th game against the Cleveland Gladiators would be moved to the BMO Harris Center in Rockford.

Personally, I am appalled by this letter. As a fan of the Arena Football League, the first league that ever had a "Fans Bill of Rights," we all deserve better than what the fans of the Rush have received.

Take a look at the Fans Bill of Rights on the AFL's website. I'd like to bring up a few quotes straight from that mission statement.

"We believe that every Fan demands that we maintain absolute respect for the game of Arena Football."

Respect? You mean the respect of being able to tell the good fans of Chicago that they are losing all of their home games at the end of the season? You mean the respect of being able to get an owner for the team that isn't a convicted felon? You mean the respect that comes from paying off past debts that were accrued by previous ownership groups when the League takes over the team again?

"We believe that every Fan should receive the very best in competitive football, entertainment, merchandise, food and beverage for their purchasing power."

Competitive entertainment value? There's nothing competitive about a lack of pregame festivities, the lack of a Jumbotron to see replays and highlights, and a lack of internet in the building. There's also nothing entertaining about being forced to drive 70 miles up the road from Allstate Arena to the BMO Harris Center just to get to a game that will be played in a significantly smaller venue than what Rush fans are used to.

"We believe that Fans expect the Arena Football League to be comprised of gentlemen and ladies who are examples and role models for youth, free of physical violence, drugs, alcohol and gambling abuse."

Role models for our youth? David Staral Jr., the former owner of the Rush, is a three-time convicted felon who was found guilty of state benefits fraud in 2005 and pled guilty to a pair of embezzlement scams. Multiple vendors have not been paid debts that were accrued from Staral's ownership, and multiple sources have confirmed to ArenaFan that there are a handful of employees of the team that have never been paid for their services.

And lastly, my favorite of all of these lines…

"We believe that Fans should know that we are committed to serve and not to be served, to give and not to just take, and to inspire and encourage people to higher levels of personal and professional achievement, growth, maturity and respect for each other."

The number of people that we have had reach out to us at ArenaFan involved in the Chicago organization in one form or another has been astounding, and not a single person that we have spoken to all season long in the Windy City has been happy.

You might think that this only has to do with the city of Chicago. However, we are all Arena Football League fans and stand united. On top of that, the League currently owns the Rush organization, meaning every single one of our owners for the teams that we have has an ownership say in the decisions made for this franchise. So to Jerry Kurz and the Arena Football League owners: Do the right thing. This season has been an absolute disaster for the Rush, and the fans are the ones that are losing. Most of the fans in the Windy City just want the value of their parking passes back and the money back for the two games in July that were moved out of Rosemont.

Personally, I do not think that's nearly enough. If the League wants to do right by the city of Chicago and salvage any chance of there being any fan base for this franchise in the future, it should refund every single penny that every single Rush fan spent this season. Every single last penny. Every ticket. Every penny in tax. Every parking pass. Each and every last dime. Anything less, in my opinion, would be disgraceful and would go against the motto of the AFL.

We are the fans of the Arena Football League, and we deserve better than this.

Rather than come up with a witty conclusion, I reached out to Rush season ticket holders to comment on what has transpired over the course of the last few weeks with the team. Mr. Kurz and the league, I hope you're paying attention to what you're about to read.

"#1: I already can't get people to go with me to games at Allstate. Why would I want eight tickets for a game in Rockford? #2: Water Park? My tickets' FACE VALUE are $35/ticket. Admission to the water park (which is in Rockford, 100 miles from me) is $19/person. #3: T-shirts??? Really, I want four t-shirts for a team that probably won't exist? Do T-shirts really cost $35 apiece???" –Ryan Steele, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2001

"I think the offer is unacceptable… I think the league's actions have been unconscionable and I'm offended that the players, staff and fans of the Rush have been treated this way." –Randy Flood, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2008

"The AFL clearly does not value my family as its customer. Its actions today are no better than the owner it recently ousted. A full refund is demanded, including prepaid parking." –Michael Glaskin-Clay, Rush Season Ticket Holder with his family of four since 2012

"… the league is making all attempts to keep every penny they can and offer nothing of value in return" –Brian Darrey, Former Rush Season Ticket Holder from 2006-2012

"Am I satisfied that after weeks of speculation and debate an official announcement has been made? Yes. Am I satisfied with the content as a Chicago Rush fan and season ticket holder? Far from it." –Jamie Killian, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2008

"I am glad that someone associated with the Rush team has communicated with the season ticket holders regarding this mess of multiple situations. Am I a satisfied customer of the AFL? Not by any means!" –Sherry Dumdie Salamone, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2004

"What can you say about a league that claims to be fan friendly, yet allows a team to sell off its Fan Appreciation Night?" –Keith Hill, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2008

"I think the options are ridiculous. I understand the Rush staff is trying to do something, but they can only do so much… The refund option is the only acceptable option… It is a slap in the face and sad it ever happened." –Leesa Almgren, Rush Ticket Holder since 2001, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2004

"I chose the refund but also asked about the parking charge and why STH weren't given the same option for July 13th." –George Bongartz, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2006

"I want a full refund of both games in July and my parking… This is not the fan friendly league I knew." –Jim Presley, Rush Season Ticket Holder since 2001

Adam Markowitz is an accountant and a freelance sports writer living in Orlando. As a Florida State graduate with degrees in music and history, the garnet and gold will forever be a part of him, but he bleeds the black and red of the Orlando Predators like none other. Adam has been following the AFL since 1991 and has been at well over 200 games, including 16 ArenaBowls. You can follow Adam on Twitter @AFLGuru.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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