September 4, 2014 in Sports

Spokane Shock have new lease with Arena

By The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Shock aren’t going anywhere.

The Arena Football League team has reached an agreement on a multiyear lease with Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The Shock will play at the Arena for the next two seasons with an option for a third year.

The new agreement allays concerns that the Shock would relocate. Those fears surfaced when Brady Nelson sold the team to an ownership group led by Bellevue businessman Nader Naini prior to the 2014 season. As part of that negotiation, the old lease was modified to make 2015 season an option year.

Naini said at the time he had no plans of moving the team and he reinforced those words with Wednesday’s announcement.

“Since acquiring the team in January we have held steadfast to our commitment to keep this civic asset and its rich tradition in Spokane,” Naini said in a release. “This agreement with the Spokane Public Facilities District is consistent with our unwavering responsibility to our loyal fans and our supportive business partners to continue providing a fan-friendly, first-class sports entertainment experience.”

In 2015, Spokane will mark its 10th season of indoor football, the first four as members of arenafootball2 and the last five in the AFL. Spokane plays nine home games annually in the regular season and it has hosted four AFL playoff games, the last in 2013. The Shock captured the 2010 ArenaBowl over Tampa Bay at the Arena.

Shock home games drew an average of nearly 9,000 fans last season.

“With this new agreement in place, we are proud to have the Shock as a valued tenant and the community can look forward to more exciting arena football action,” Arena general manager Matt Gibson said.

AFL membership has changed every offseason since the league returned in 2010 following a one-year hiatus. Utah and Chicago folded after the 2013 season and were replaced by Los Angeles and Portland. The Tulsa Talons relocated to San Antonio in 2012. Iowa recently announced it will join a smaller indoor league. Las Vegas is set to join the AFL in 2015.

“There was certainly some concern from our fans but Nader from the get-go has made it very clear his intentions were for the team to be successful and to stay in Spokane as well,” Shock director of operations Ryan Eucker said. “Shock fans have been one of, if not the most loyal fans in the AFL. This agreement certainly solidifies the stance Nader took early on.”

Spokane has qualified for the playoffs eight times in nine seasons, missing out only in 2012. Spokane has a 61-34 record in five AFL seasons after going 66-10 in af2. The Shock finished 11-8 in 2014, falling to San Jose in the first round of the playoffs.

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