Vikings War Cry

July 5, 2007 7:01 PM

A Return Of The Minnesota Fighting Pike?

Today, Randball has a column that reflects on the Minnesota Fighting Pike's brief time in the Arena Football League:

The first sign of disarray came early. Art Haege, hired to be the Pike’s head coach, resigned one day after watching tryouts.

“He just walked out,” owner Tom Scallen said at the time. “I said, ‘Where are you going? He said, ‘Back to Iowa.’ … I said, ‘Call me in the morning, OK?’ Instead, he sent me a fax that he was resigning.”

Scallen liquidated the team, and creditors were stuck with more than $200,000 in unpaid bills from the team. Scallen himself said he lost about $400,000.

Though some consider the Twin Cities sports market “oversaturated,” McCloskey said it meets the league’s first two criteria of football tradition and an available arena (two, actually). The third and biggest hurdle? Committed ownership.

“I can say that in recent months, we’ve had discussions with certain groups interested in bringing a team to Minneapolis/St. Paul for 2008,” McCloskey said.

“Honestly, if you get the right people in place and you market it, you’d be able to sell it in the Twin Cities,” said Foggie, who works as a mortgage broker here in the offseason. “Somewhere like the Xcel Center would be great for Arena Football.”

Hmm...could the Twin Cities support an Arena Football team? 

Well, we do have four major professional sports teams, a big college, a soccer team, and a lacrosse team.  So the market could very well be oversaturated.

But on the other hand, football is king in Minnesota.  True, people call Minnesota the "State of Hockey," but football is the number one sport in this state.

So I'm thinking an Arena team could have success here.  The Vikings create a huge buzz whenever they're having a good year...a winning Arena team could probably also generate a buzz.

There's just constant Vikings discussion occuring here...whether it's July or November, there are plenty of people discussing the Purple.  With that in consideration, there's gotta be room in the state for another football team.

But there's one problem: Minnesota sports fans tend to be fair-weather, myself included.  Sure, I'll be a fan of the Vikes and Wolves no matter what, but I'm only interested in our other teams if they're winning.

With that in mind, an Arena team will only succeed in Minnesota if it's...well, a winning team.  Once the novelty of having an Arena Football team wears off, fans will only come to the games if we have a good squad.  I really don't think there are a lot of hardcore Arena fans in Minnesota, who would support the team regardless of its record. 

Just look at the Lynx...when they first came into existence, attendance was pretty good, and there was some decent interest in the team.  Now, after years of losing, attendance is terrible, and the team is completely off the Minnesota sports radar.

I think an Arena team in Minnesota would be in a similar situation to the Lynx.  Initially, people will have interest.  But over the longhaul, a winning team is needed to maintain that support.

Potential owners of a Minnesota Arena team: The Twin Cities could be a great place for an Arena Football League team.  We've got a great arena, and there's no shortage of football fans in Minnesota.  But don't rely on the game's novelty to attract fans...actually build a winner.

A Member Of