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The Good and the Bad in Cleveland

Randy Snow
Wednesday April 15, 2015

Last Saturday night, the Cleveland Gladiators hosted the Arizona Rattlers in a rematch of last year’s ArenaBowl. Since I was there for the league championship game in Cleveland last August, I felt I had to be there for their home opener this year against the team that thoroughly trounced them for the title. There was good and bad to be sure this time around. Here is what I took away from the game.

GOOD. A great crowd of 12,776 was on hand for the Gladiators home opener. The fans were loud and showed their support for the team early and often. Cleveland entered the game 2-0 while the Rattlers were 1-1. Everyone was looking for a bit of revenge on the team that broke Cleveland’s heart last year, and fans came out in droves to support their team.

BAD. Once again, Arizona came out on top, this time by a more respectable score of 49-41. Both teams had their share of miscues in the game, a sure indication that neither team has hit their stride in Week 3 of the season.

GOOD. As usual, there was swag to be had once my son and I walked through the doors at the Quicken Loans Arena. We were given a rally towel with the team logo on it and a magnetic team schedule. The Gladiators get it. They are always giving away something at every home game. Last year they gave away T-shirts, pink breast cancer awareness bracelets and even a mini soccer ball, all with the team logo on them. If every team in the league is not doing this, they should be. It doesn’t have to be much, just a little something extra to say thanks for coming to the game.

BAD. Just like during the ArenaBowl last year, there was a Cleveland Indians baseball game going on right next door at the same time as the Gladiators game. This made for limited parking space in the downtown area and increased parking prices. Usually for an arena game I pay $10 to park right across the street, but when there is a baseball game going on as well the price jumps to $25 or more. It makes it hard for fans when there are simultaneous events going on right next door to each other.

GOOD. Dollar sodas and two dollar select draft beers. Every home game this season will feature these specials for kids and adults. The AFL has always promoted itself as affordable entertainment and this goes a long way towards making the evening out at the game one that won’t break your budget. Other theme nights this season include a salute to the military, a t-shirt giveaway, a 38 Special post-game concert and a football giveaway night, just to name a few.

GOOD. The new jumbo screen above the field. Sure the arena probably made the upgrade to showcase that LeBron James guy when he is playing there, but the Gladiators are reaping the benefit also. I have been to Cleveland for many Gladiator games since 2010, and this new screen is really great compared to the old one. It is much bigger and the picture is really sharp. They even have a camera located directly above the field which gives an interesting perspective of the game when they use it.

GOOD. 50-50 drawing. You can buy tickets for a 50-50 drawing through the third quarter of the game. The night we were there the total was over $8,000 so some lucky person walked away with over $4,000 just by coming to the game. The other half goes to a local charity.

As you can see, there are more good things than bad going on in Cleveland so if you have not been to a game recently, grab the kids and head downtown to check out the action. Whether the team wins or loses, you will have a great time and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Randy Snow covered the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League for ArenaFan from 2003-2008. He also covered the Fort Wayne Fusion of arenafootball2 in 2007. From 2004-2008 and in 2010, he was a member of the Arena Football League Writer’s Association and, since 2011, has been a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association. Randy lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan but will travel just about anywhere for a football game or a great football story. He runs the web site and hosts a podcast with his son, Adam, called “This Week in The World of Football.”
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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