West Palm Beach, FL (PRWEB) January 11, 2006
Professional football will be touching down in West Palm Beach this spring for the very first time, giving Palm Beach County residents and visitors good reason to cheer. Rita Johnson, president of Palm Beach Media Associates, announced today that a new professional indoor football team, the West Palm Beach Phantoms, has been added to the National Indoor Football League. The new franchise will play its home games at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center and kick off the season in March.
Indoor football is one of the fastest growing professional sports in the country. Its real football played on an indoor turf the size of a hockey rink with eight players per side. A padded wall is all that separates the fans from the players. Footballs that go into the stands during regular play become souvenirs of the fans and, on average, 40-50 footballs reach the stands every game. The NIFL style of indoor football is very similar to the outdoor game in that players do not play both offense and defense. Consequently, they are able to better develop their skills at their chosen position. Unlike the outdoor game there is no punting. The games are typically high-scoring and very, very fast!
While the NIFL owns 25% of the Phantoms, Michael Lind, a long-time South Florida business man, is the majority owner. Were going to do a top-notch job at bringing professional football to West Palm Beach, says Lind. I see fans from Miami through Vero Beach coming to share the excitement, making the Phantoms a great asset to our community as well as a new attraction for visitors.
Lind said he’ll be sending tapes of the Phantom players to the NFL every week. This team will open up opportunities for many talented kids who might otherwise get overlooked. In fact, he adds, several of today’s NFL players started in NIFL leagues.
Ray Berger, the new coach for the team, has been coaching football in Palm Beach County for twenty years and was Head Coach at Lantana’s Santaluces High School from 1994 through 2002. I’m honored that Mike Lind chose me to coach the Phantoms, says Berger. I’m very excited about this team and being in a position to showcase the tremendous football talent we have in Palm Beach County.
West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel is also enthusiastic about the new NIFL team. I want to welcome the Phantoms to our area and look forward to professional football in our back yard, she says.
The Phantoms will be using Athletes Advantage in Wellington as their training facility. Athletes Advantage will also handle all team sports medicine as well as the open try-out. Try-Out Coordinator, Sean Benevides calls the NIFL an exciting brand of football. I’m looking forward to working with them, he says, and seeing the Phantoms bring home a Championship to West Palm Beach.
The NIFL was launched in 2001 with 18 franchises across the United States. The first league game was played in Medford, Oregon. This season, with the addition of the West Palm Beach Phantoms, the league has grown to 25 teams including several in Florida. Among them are the Miami Morays, Jacksonville Stallions, Kissimmee Kreatures and the Daytona Beach Hawgs.
The National Football League officiating department entered into a partnership with NIFL and is involved in the recruiting, training and evaluation of the NIFL officials. Dan Blum, formerly the NIFL supervisor of officials, was promoted to director of operation for the league.
Kris Pursell, vice president of Expo development at the South Florida Fairgrounds, says the Expo Center is ready to welcome the Phantoms home. Were very proud to be the venue for the launch of this new team, she notes. I look forward to a long term relationship with them.
Owner Lind says ticket prices for the games will be kept affordable and season ticket packages will be available. The Expo Center, which is located at 9067 Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach, has a capacity of 5000 seats. The schedule for the season, which runs from March through June, has not yet been released.
Numerous corporate sponsorship opportunities for the Phantoms will be available. For more information contact Palm Beach Media Associates at 561 241-4567 or 561-301-0122.