07/30/2010 10:10 AM
Des Moines, IOWA – The leaders of the locally-owned Iowa Barnstormers Arena Football League franchise today announced the organization entered into a new five-year lease agreement with the Iowa Events Center, ensuring that downtown Des Moines will be the home of the Barnstormers through the 2014 season.
In a Thursday news conference on Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Field at Wells Fargo Arena, Barnstormers ownership group members Jeff Lamberti and Matt Strawn said the new agreement will send a strong signal to all fans that the Barnstormers and the AFL will have a place in Des Moines for the foreseeable future.
While the specific terms of the lease were not disclosed by the Barnstormers or the Iowa Events Center, Lamberti said the organization now enjoys a lease that no longer places the franchise at a competitive disadvantage with AFL teams in larger markets. “This is a true partnership,” he said. “We are pleased that the Iowa Events Center recognizes the financial benefit to Polk County of keeping the Barnstormers here in Des Moines. This helps us not only keep an AFL team in Des Moines, but focus on delivering an Arena Bowl championship to Iowa.”
Lamberti said a number of factors gave the organization’s local ownership group the confidence to enter into this long-term agreement. “First and foremost is having the best fans in arena football. Next is the amount of supportive partners in Iowa’s business community. Then there’s the strength and promise of a bright future for the AFL. And finally, a lease agreement that allows the Barnstormers to share in the success of filling Wells Fargo Arena game after game.”
Lamberti, who also serves on the AFL’s Executive Committee, spoke to the future of the AFL noting that plans for the 2011 AFL season are progressing rapidly as the Kansas City, Philadelphia and San Jose markets return to the league. Additionally, he said the both the NFL Network and the AFL owners have been pleased with the first year of a featured AFL National Game of the Week on the NFL Network and look forward to continuing that level of exposure for the Barnstormers and the AFL.
The team’s commitment for the future also included an announcement that the Barnstormers would not raise any ticket prices for the 2011 season, according to Strawn. “Despite the tough economic conditions here in Iowa and a challenging season on the playing field, the loyalty of our fans stayed strong as we’re on pace to average over 9,000 fans per game for the third straight season. The best way to thank our fans and keep the ‘Stormers an affordable option for Iowa families is to not raise our ticket prices one penny for the 2011 season,” concluded Strawn.
The Barnstormers (6-8) host the Milwaukee Iron (9-5) Saturday, July 24 at 7:05 p.m. in the team’s home finale. Tickets are available by calling (515) 633-2255 or online at www.theiowabarnstormers.com