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Arena Football League Eyes Return in 2024, will Cleveland have a team?

Arena Football

On Tuesday, the Arena Football League announced the league will return in 2024. Thus ending a five year hiatus with a new ownership group and a new commissioner. The league shut down in 2019 after having serious financial problems, in hopes of someday making a comeback.

Making history

In this comeback, the AFL will be making American sports history, becoming the very first American sports league with a black commissioner. The new head man Lee A. Hutton III is an attorney who has worked on major cases for the NFL and even the NCAA, and is also part of the league’s new ownership group.

The league announced there will be 16 teams who will play 10 regular season games and a full playoff schedule, ending with the annual Arena Bowl where their champion will be crowned. In the financially troubled 2019 season there were only six teams, so it is great news to see 16 teams will be back on the indoor gridiron.

As of this writing, no cities have been announced as having teams in the AFL revival, however I would look for some historic AFL teams like the Philadelphia Soul , New Orleans Voodoo, and Arizona Diamondbacks to possibly make a comeback.

Will Cleveland get a team

The real question is will Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have a team? Cleveland has had teams in the AFL on two separate occasions in the past. The Cleveland Thunderbolts started in 1991 playing at the old Richfield Coliseum. They played until the team relocated to Columbus in 1994. Also the Cleveland Gladiators, owned by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, played from 2008 until they folded in 2019. The Gladiators originally stopped playing because of upcoming renovations at their arena. The renovations took place in mostly the summer, which is mid-season for the Arena League, but the team never took the field again. I have reached out to the Gladiators and the league for comment, but have not heard back as of this writing.

Would you want another AFL team here in The Land? Would you want the Gladiators to come back, or would you want a brand new team? Could be some exciting times ahead!


Jerry is a proud husband and father. He is a lifelong fan of anything related to Cleveland sports, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the WWE. On Friday nights in the fall you can find him covering Brunswick high school football.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mark Seminatore

    March 13, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    Hell yes I would love another afl team. I would love an xfl team.

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