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Report: BattleWings, Vipers to relocate, take up former AFL franchise identities for 2011

Joe Kauffman
Wednesday July 28, 2010


On Tuesday, a story broke on a blog website about the possibility of The Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings relocating to New Orleans and taking up the identity of the New Orleans VooDoo. Since then, ArenaFan has been contacted by two independent sources, and provided some additional information.

Our sources tell us that in addition to the BattleWings, the Alabama Vipers will relocate and take up an AFL identity as well. One source said it would be either the Georgia Force or Nashville Kats. The other source named only the Georgia Force, and that they would be looking to play at the Gwinnett Arena. This source commented that Nashville has not been formally discussed, and it may only be a “Plan B” in case a relocation to Georgia does not work out.

According to our sources, both moves have already been approved by the Arena Football League, but no leases have been signed in the new cities. Until that happens, none of this is a done deal.

However, if these moves are to take place, the Bossier-Shreveport group would have to pay a relocation fee to cover their portion of the AFL asset purchase. The Alabama team would not, because they have already contributed their share to the asset purchase.

Attempts to confirm any of this with the AFL or the teams involved have received no response, and a fan has reported calling into the BattleWings office to ask and was told they knew nothing about any of this.

There are two facts that seem to support this report. First, neither team has begun soliciting for 2011 season tickets. Both teams do have home games in the final week, but it has been confirmed that in previous years,  the BattleWings would have started the campaign with 3 or 4 weeks left in the season.

Secondly, in the case of the BattleWings, team owner Dan Newman has purchased the domain aflvoodoo.com (email addresses have been redacted for privacy), as first made public by the user Slasher on www.aflfanzone.com (which apparently got the ball rolling on this story):

Registrant:
ACS, Inc.

401 Market Street
Suite 200
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: AFLVOODOO.COM
Created on: 10-Jun-10
Expires on: 10-Jun-15
Last Updated on: 10-Jun-10

Administrative Contact:
Newman, Dan xxxxxxxxxx@aol.com
ACS, Inc.
401 Market Street
Suite 200
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
United States
(318) 747-9977 Fax -- (318) 747-9994


One source has also stated that if the League does form a second tier developmental league for 2012, the owners would create new teams using their previous BattleWings and Vipers marks in their current markets. Both sources intoned that no vote on the formation of a developmental league has taken place.

UPDATE: Commissioner Kurz has now publicly commented on AFLFanZone: “One should not draw any conclusions at this time. Yes, if the VooDoo returned, it would be a great addition.”

UPDATE (7/29): After publication of this article, an Alabama Vipers fan has presented a scan of a 2011 season ticket form that apparently was taped to seats at the last home. At the time of this update, there is still no information about 2011 season tickets on their website.


 
Joe Kauffman is President and Editor in Chief of Arenafan Online, having joined the staff in 2000. He graduated from Florida State University in 1998 with a degree in communications and is the owner of Gale Force Design & Technology, a Web development and computer consulting company. Joe has enjoyed Arena Football since 1991 and has been a member of the Arena Football Internet community since 1995. Prior to Joining Arenafan, he was a co-founder and Technical Editor of the Storm Shelter, which covered the Tampa Bay Storm from 1996-99. Joe and his wife Erika live in Clearwater, Fla.
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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