The Tampa Bay Storm, Tampa's Arena Football League team, has announced it is suspending its operations effective immediately.
"We have informed League Commissioner Scott Butera, and the remaining members of the Arena Football League, that we will not operate a franchise in 2018," said Steve Griggs, Chief Executive Officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment. "This was not an easy decision, but after deep consideration, evaluation and introspection, we have elected to reallocate the resources dedicated to arena football for other uses within our organization, including the growth of Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties.”
The organization cited rising league costs and reduced league revenues as reasons it needed to re-evaluate the team's financial situation and its continued operation in the AFL.
The Storm say that because of its tradition, history and fan base, they would be pleased to explore future opportunities in a stronger, reinvented Arena League at the appropriate time.
“We are eternally grateful to the Storm fans, current and former players, our sponsorship partners and the Tampa Bay community for their continued support during the team’s 26 years of operation in Tampa Bay,” said Griggs. “We are proud of the five ArenaBowl Championships they all earned throughout our history.”
The Storm began playing in Tampa Bay in 1991, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Brooks was the current president.
The company's decision will reportedly open key dates in spring and summer of 2018, and Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment is working to fill those dates in with other events, concerts and fmaily shows.
Storm season ticket members will be contacted immediately by their membership representatives to discuss options for any monies currently being retained by the organization against season tickets for the 2018 season.