What Makes A Great Indoor Football Market?

by NGL Personnel

JACKSONVILLE, FL- What makes a great indoor football market? Many fans have asked this question, and all the professional indoor football leagues seem to be a little mum. The Arena Football League seeks major markets such as Philadelphia or Baltimore, while other leagues such as the Champions Indoor Football have entered small markets such as Enid, Oklahoma. So what is the target market for the National Gridiron League? What is a great indoor football league market? So we here at Draft Xtreme looked at the league's selected markets and found vital indicators about some of the most successful indoor football league markets and the market profile of National Gridiron League.

The most successful indoor or arena football league team of all-time is up for debate with a few worthy candidates. It's imperative that we outline our definition of success as it may be relative. To make our little project as objective as possible we determined four key factors championships, attendance, sponsorship, and life span of the team. Our top four candidates for most successful indoor or arena football league team are the Arizona Rattlers, Orlando Predators, Tampa Bay Storm, and Sioux Falls Storm which we'll call our "Fantastic Four." All four of these franchises have enjoyed success in our four key factors with championships, attendance, sponsorship, and life span. So we began looking for the common denominators in the markets of these franchises. It's pretty apparent to see three of the top four are from major U.S. media markets with the Phoenix (#12), Orlando (#18), and Tampa (#11) with Sioux Falls (#115) being the only small market club. Which places most of the league outside of a U.S. top 50 media market which illustrates league leadership has chosen a mix of major and mid-size markets for its initial lineup. With Topeka and Beaumont bringing up the rear with media market in the mid 100's.

Next, we looked at the metro area population of the "Fantastic Four" all are above 250,000 residents with Sioux Falls having the least with 265,000 residents. Of the four Tampa is the largest with over 3 million residents in its metropolitan area. Although the metro area's population is not a direct indicator of what game attendance will be, and if you ask us here at Draft Xtreme an effective marketing campaign to have a more immediate impact, but it does not hurt to have more residents to market too. The league does excellent in this area with Topeka having the smallest metro area population near 250,000 residents, while all other league teams are all above 300,000 metro residents.

What does the unemployment rate indicate? All of our "Fantasic Four" franchises reside in area of strong economic health. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes, when workers are unemployed, their families lose wages, and the nation as a whole loses their contribution to the economy in terms of the goods or services that could have been produced. Unemployed workers also lose their purchasing power, which can lead to unemployment for other workers, creating a cascading effect that ripples through the economy. Reviewing the unemployment rate of all league metro areas the league found cities with an unemployment rate of under 17%. Having a market with residents with some form of employment always helps. The league used the unemployment rate as an indicator on the health of the local economy. We would agree the league needs a healthy local economy to be successful.

Lastly, the league would have been wise to observe the median household income of its desired sites. The quality of the jobs available in the market area is an essential factor and provides the league with its perspective of the local fan base. Our study concludes that Atlanta has the highest median household income with Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania providing the lowest median household income.

There are many healthy and desirable indoor football markets throughout the U.S., and unfortunately, not all have a professional indoor or arena football ball club to call their own, many do not have a professional sports franchise of any kind. Hopefully, the NGL can fill the void of a few these markets this spring.

Other factors were the venue, and geographical location as the league made an apparent effort to control travel cost while selecting the best facilities, but we decided these media market, metro population, unemployment rate, and median household income were more vital factors for our study. By all indications, the NGL decided the best sites now the league must do the real work and making its franchises successful. 

In closing, our conclusion of what makes a great indoor football market can not be found in market analysis or a spreadsheet. What makes a great indoor football market is having great fans, a great team, and great football. Looking a numbers are great, but let's hope the NGL gets the most important factor correct in providing great football.

TeamMarketMedia MarketMetro PopulationMetro Unemployment RateMedian Household Income
Atlanta WildcatsAtlanta, Georgia105.9 million13.9%$65,381
St. Louis StampedeSt. Louis, Missouri212.8 million11.4%$59,780
Virginia DestroyersHampton, Virginia441.7 million11.4%$61,805
Arkansas TwistersLittle Rock, Arkansas57734,38115.9%$51,501
Pennsylvania PioneersWilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania62555,22514.3%$47,422
Baton Rouge RedsticksBaton Rouge, Louisiana97835,17517.2%$52,487
Virginia Iron HorsesRoanoke, Virginia68312,68813.2%$54,233
Mississippi MudcatsJackson, Mississippi92580,17816.2%$50,632
Indiana FirebirdsEvansville, Indiana103315,94815%$50,155
Indiana Blue BombersFort Wayne, Indiana104431,80214.5%$51,519
Texas BighornsBeaumont, Texas140409,90117.2%$49,364
Kansas KapitalsTopeka, Kansas141233,77313.2%$52,861

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