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Fort Wayne Firehawks to try again in new 2012 league

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Arena football team will have unique business model.

Saturday, July 2, 2011 - 10:52 am

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, arena football in Fort Wayne has lived – apparently – to see another day.

A group of prospective owners has joined forces to organize the Stadius Football Association, of which a franchise in Fort Wayne will compete in 2012.

“Arena football fans love this sport's fast-paced scoring and hard-hitting tackles,” SFA inaugural president David Seiter said in a release. “We believe fans will enjoy the highly competitive product that we will be bringing to their respective cities.”

The history of indoor football in Fort Wayne resembles a broken play on the gridiron and financial losses in the front office. Multiple teams have competed – with some success on the field – and each time the operation has ceased. But Seiter believes that he and his associates have a better business plan this time.

“The key to the SFA's success will be operating under a unique cost-effective business model,” Seiter said. “That will provide quality family-friendly football entertainment at affordable costs for fans.”

The league will be based out of Indianapolis and will be owned by the team owners, who will be vested in the viability and success of the whole.

“The reason that our business model will be successful is that the owners will not only own their teams, but the league itself,” Seiter said. “The owners will manage the business affairs of the SFA. The owners will work together to secure products and services in volume, thus driving down the operating costs of the league and their teams.”

The league is looking at possible franchises throughout the Midwest and already has received interest from several teams that are intending to join the new league. Aside from the FireHawks, those franchises include the Dayton Silverbacks, Cincinnati Commandos, Northern Kentucky River Monsters, and Marion (Ohio) Blue Racers. The SFA is accepting applications from other team owners and believes the inaugural season will have 10 to 16 franchises.

“We have a strong potential core of initial team members,” Seiter said. “There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for building this league.”

The league plans an organizational meeting later this month and hopes to release a 2012 schedule this fall.