WEST VALLEY CITY Indoor football has failed three times in Utah. So why on earth would anyone try again?
Well, for those people associated with the Utah Warriors, they believe their new National Indoor Football League franchise has what it takes to survive. They've got sponsors lined up, advertisers lined up and players lined up. Perhaps more importantly though, they've got the E Center lined up.
That's why coach Lee Leslie was so excited at the Thursday's news conference announcing the Utah Warriors.
The three other indoor football teams Catzz, Rattlers, Express that bombed in Utah all called UVSC home. Leslie, along with president Doug Tate, know the E Center is vital to their success.
"We don't want to come in here and be looked at as someone who will be here for just a little while," said Tate. "We're in this for the long haul."
According to Tate, the league-wide attendance average is around 70 percent of arena capacity, which means the Warriors would have to average around 7,000 fans to meet that quota. However, Tate said the Warriors only need around 3,000 fans per game to break even in the first year.
The Warriors, whose colors will be black and gold, kick off their inaugural season on March 22 with home game against Billings, Mont. The 14-game season concludes at Beaumont, Texas. The NIFL is a 24-team league, and Utah will be placed in the Western Division along with: Sioux Falls, Bismarck, Billings, Rapid City and Wyoming.
"The people of Utah are in for a real treat," said Carolyn Shiver, president of the NIFL. "We know Utah sports are passionate and knowledgable about their football, and we are convinced the Warriors will not disappoint."
Leslie brings a lot of football experience to the Warriors. In addition to playing college football at Southern Utah, he's been a head coach at Hillcrest High School and an assistant coach at the University of Utah. He even played quarterback with the Utah Catzz before they went belly up.
In addition to the typical high scoring games arena football fans across the country are familiar with, Leslie says Utah fans can expect a great family environment. Ticket prices will range from $10 to $15.
Tryouts for the Warriors will be held on Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. at the E Center.
Leslie says anyone is welcome to try out. He even jokingly extended an invitation to West Valley City mayor Dennis Nordfelt who was in attendance at Thursday's news conference.
Some players who've already contacted Leslie about playing are former Utes Omar Bacon and Greg Hooks, along with former Cougars Tyler Anderson and Carlos Nunez.
"It's going to be hard-nosed football," said Leslie.
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