Arts & CultureBlogCulture Briefs

Arena Football Team Will Move to Athens Next Year

If you’re the type of person who suffers pigskin withdrawal after the Super Bowl, a cure is coming: The Peach State Cats, an arena football team, will play their home games in Athens next spring.

The Cats’ home base will be Akins Ford Arena, aka the Classic Center’s grand hall, which when equipped with temporary bleachers can seat 2,000 people. The arena also hosts the University of Georgia Ice Dawgs club hockey team and, until recently, the Classic City Rollergirls, who now play at Athens Arena on Atlanta Highway.

“We are looking forward to calling the Classic Center our home,” Cats owner Tim Freeman said in a news release. “Athens has had a rich football history with the success of the University of Georgia, Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central programs over the years. We are looking forward to serving the community.” 

The team formed in 2017 as part of the semi-pro Elite Indoor League, but soon moved to the American Arena League, which includes teams in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, New York and New Jersey. It was unable to secure the Dalton Convention Center as a venue in 2018 and played all its games on the road, going 0–6 last season.

Former Atlanta Falcons receiver Mareno Philyaw is the head coach.

The Cats will play five home games at the Classic Center between March and June. The schedule will be released in early November.

Arena football is played indoors on a field that’s shorter and narrower than a standard football field—the size of a hockey rink. Teams have eight players rather than 11, with many playing both offense and defense.

For a taste of American Arena League action, the league’s all-star game will air on ESPN3 Saturday, Aug. 25.

Meanwhile, Ice Dawgs season tickets are on sale now, and single-game tickets go on sale Sept. 7.