The Arena League bringing a professional football team to Waterloo in inaugural season

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 7:05 PM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Professional football has landed in the Cedar Valley.

Led by league commissioner and NFL Hall-of-Famer Tim Brown, Waterloo was voted on by fans to be one of the four cities to help launch The Arena League.

“A lot of you guys have come up to me and said thank you for bringing this here, but we didn’t bring this here, you brought this here to yourselves, when we put the invitation out early in the year, overwhelmingly you voted to have a team here.

Duluth, Minn., Springfield, Mo., and one other city yet to be named will help launch the four team league in 2024. The Waterloo team will play in the Hippodrome Arena at the National Cattle Congress.

“The sport is something easy to gather around because it’s played indoors. It’s in an arena. It’s the only other time when there’s no live football. We are going to start before the Super Bowl and finish before high school and college football gear up, so in a passionate football community like ours, it fits right in,” The Arena League advisor Tommy Benizio said.

The season will run from June through mid-August with each team playing in 8 regular season games. The game will feature high-level players coming out of college and some with NFL opportunities.

“For these guys that are playing, they’re going to be serious about this. They’re not making a lot of money to do it , but at the same time they know this is another opportunity,” Brown said. “Now Kurt Warner probably set the bar a little too high. MVP of the league, Super Bowl winner and Hall of Famer, that may be a little too high, but at the same time, one of the things we’re going to promise these kids is that if the opportunity is there, we’re going to try and get that opportunity to have another shot at the next level,” he added.

The organization hopes their style of play is entertaining for the overall fan experience.

“The game is played 6-on-6, so it’s very, very high scoring, It’s very physical. Players fly over the hockey wall, because there’s no glass like in hockey. They land in your lap. It’s an incredible experience. You get to keep a football if you catch it. The referees actually report to the fans, not the league. You get to have a say in the officials,” Benizio explained.

They also know they’re going to need community support to help The Arena League grow. They’re asking for the community to help pick the colors, logo and name of their new team in Waterloo.