Professional football is returning to Los Angeles, and it is happening courtesy of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. Founding KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are part of an ownership group along with KISS manager Doc McGhee for the Arena Football League's newest expansion team, the Los Angeles KISS.
Darren Rovell of ESPN.com reported the announcement on Thursday in Orlando, Florida, which is the site of Saturday's ArenaBowl XXVI between the Arizona Rattlers and Philadelphia Soul.
It is no secret that the AFL has struggled to create a buzz in recent years, but perhaps the KISS can help the league turn things around.
This announcement is arguably the biggest to come from the AFL since the league canceled the 2009 season. The AFL has since returned, and having a high-profile team in L.A. could very well add some stability to the league.
With the Georgia Force and Kansas City Command folding, and the Milwaukee Mustangs currently dormant, there was room to expand the 14-team league. Rather than exploring another second-rate market, the AFL went for the gusto by securing one of the largest sports and media markets in the United States.
This isn't the Arena League's first foray into the City of Angels, either, as the Los Angeles Avengers played in the league from 2000 through 2009. The franchise ultimately folded amid all of the turmoil that occurred within the league in 2009, but it's difficult to imagine the KISS meeting a similar fate.
While the Avengers played their games at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the KISS are scheduled to play at the Honda Center in Anaheim, which is currently the home of the NHL's Anaheim Ducks. Since the KISS won't have to share a building with countless other franchises like the Avengers did, they should be in a better position to be a major player within the market.
There has been no NFL team in Los Angeles since 1994, as the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders moved to Oakland following the season. The AFL will obviously never be able to compete with the NFL, but having a team in Los Angeles should bring some much needed attention to the league.
The band KISS is still popular across the country and the world, so being attached to their brand will be huge for the new Los Angeles-based franchise. It's hard to say how successful the AFL team will be, but the band certainly knows how to create an atmosphere and put on a great show, so the Los Angeles KISS games will be must-see events.
The Soul are another Arena League team with musical roots, as they were originally owned by Jon Bon Jovi. Although he is no longer part of the ownership group due to the pursuit of outside endeavors, the Soul have been one of the league's most successful franchises since their inception in 2004.
If the KISS can achieve similar success, it will be a huge boost to the league. KISS has been making headlines for years, so Simmons and Stanley will ensure that people are talking about their team. It will be up to the league itself to capitalize on that increased interest, though.
It remains to be seen how good the on-field product will be, but there is no question that the KISS will help raise the level of interest in the AFL.
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