Indoor football is returning to Columbus.
A press release from the Arena Football League says a Columbus franchise will start play this spring with home games inside Nationwide Arena.
“This is a banner day for the Arena Football League, with the return of one of the League’s most attractive markets that has proven to be comprised of loyal fans,” said Ron Jaworski, the AFL chairman of the executive committee, in a press release. “We are going to deliver an AFL team that will immediately excite and draw in the people of Columbus.”
The press release did not list the mascot for the Columbus team. That’s expected to be announced “in the coming weeks.”
Columbus' last Arena Football League team, the Columbus Destroyers, started play in 2003 and reached the league’s championship game in 2007. The team stopped play after the 2008 season when the Arena Football League filed for bankruptcy.
“We are overjoyed that the Arena Football League has chosen Columbus and Nationwide Arena as their new home,” Nationwide Arena General Manager Mike Gatto said in the league release. “The AFL will add excitement to the Arena District starting this spring. We look forward to hosting their uniquely fast-paced, exciting and fan-centric games!”
The latest incarnation of the Arena Football League includes teams from Columbus, Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The league plans to release the schedule for the 2019 season next week.
This is the third time the Arena Football League has had a team in Columbus. The Columbus Thunderbolts went 0-10 during the 1991 season while playing at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum. The Thunderbolts moved to Cleveland after just one season.