On Thursday, the Tri-Cities Fever of the Indoor Football League have announced, after much deliberation, that they will be changing their Facebook relationship status with the league to “it’s complicated.”
The Fever announced they will be taking a break from the IFL after being in a committed relationship with them since 2010.
Here is the statement from the team on their recent status change in its entirety.
The owners of the Tri-Cities Fever, JR and Teri Carr, are announcing that the team will be going “dormant” for the 2017 season. Dormant means that the business will continue to own the franchise and be a member in good standing with the Indoor Football League, however the team will not play during that season. Being dormant allows the franchise and all of its assets to be sold and play either locally or in another location (with league approval) or for the Carr’s to move and operate the franchise in another location. This decision was based on increasing expenses without recognizing an increase in revenue.
The Fever has had both on the field and off the field success. On the field they have been to the Championship games 3 times, winning the Championship in 2005 and back to back appearances in 2011 and 2012. They have been given awards by the league for Franchise of the Year, Executive of the year, Community Involvement and Best Game Day Operations. Most recently, Lionell Singleton (DB), was inducted into the 2016 IFL Hall of Fame.
It has been the goal of the franchise to be an active and contributing member of the community. This is a goal that was accomplished. The Fever continually gave all that they were able to through volunteering, donations and fundraising. As an example, in 2015 they contributed over $70,000 to local nonprofits, youth organizations and schools through fundraising and donations. They were contributors and partners to the United Way’s Attendance Matters, Junior Achievement, Tri-City Cancer Center and Afterschool Matters. Additionally players and staff members are in schools and at event appearances 3 days a week.
However, all of the efforts that members of the team and the business have put into the community have not led to increased support from the Tri-Cities. The fan base has remained solid and steady, while the sponsorship support has remained near the same, but those numbers are not enough and the team suffers substantial financial losses every year that are continuing to grow due to increased expenses.
Teri Carr stated, “We already have a budget that is as bare bones as I can get it. You can’t save your way to a profit. Over the years, my staff and I have tried a wide variety of ways to increase ticket and sponsorship. While some of those efforts have seen results, the results are never enough to make up the difference. I wish it was as easy as winning and losing, but even after the team made it to the Championship 2 straight years our attendance the following year was the lowest it had ever been. The bottom line is that having the team here in Tri-Cities is just not important to enough of the community to offer it the support that is needed for longevity. With our passion for the game and the business we thought we could work our way there, but it becomes clearer after every season that is not going to happen. “
“I feel it is important that all of the season ticket holders and sponsors know how much their support over the last 12 seasons has meant to us. We survived as long as we did because of them. Their passion for the team helped the Tri-Cities be recognized as one of the “Premier” franchises in Indoor Football. “
While the Fever haven’t confirmed they will be ceasing operations (but, let’s face it, almost no team comes back from a season-long hiatus), it’s look improbable the team and the IFL will be getting back together again even if this break was on good terms. No word yet if any other indoor football leagues are going to go behind the IFL’s back and flirt with the Tri-Cities Fever in the meantime.