ATLANTIC CITY (January 22, 2019) – The Casino Reinvestment Authority could make its first play to score a professional football franchise for Atlantic City during its meeting Tuesday.
According to its agenda, CRDA will vote to enter into a nonbinding term sheet and negotiate a 3-year public-private partnership license agreement with the Arena Football League for a new franchise to play at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall starting in the 2019 season.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at the authority’s South Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters.
Atlantic City will be the fifth active franchise in the Arena League, joining the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade, Washington Valor and Albany (New York) Empire.
Other teams are expected to be added in the coming weeks and years.
The Arena League team in Atlantic City — the name of the team will be chosen by fans in a contest — will try to succeed in a market where other professional sports teams have failed. It will be the fifth professional sports franchise to come to Atlantic City in the past 20 years.
The Surf played from 1998-2008 in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (1998-2006) and Can-Am League (2007-08). It won the inaugural Atlantic League championship in 1998 and hosted the league’s All-Star game at the former Sandcastle that year. It folded before the 2009 season.
The Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League played at Boardwalk Hall for five seasons (2001-05), but despite winning the Kelly Cup in 2003 failed to draw enough fans to stay. The franchise relocated to Stockton, California.
The Seagulls won three titles in the now defunct United States Basketball League during its six-year tenure (1996-2001) while playing at Atlantic City High School, Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom and finally at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing. In 2001, it became the first USBL team to go winless (0-28) in a season and disbanded.
The CRDA will also discuss the potential AtlantiCare HealthPark, a $38 million project that will include a maternal and child health clinic and a dialysis unit on land owned by the state agency.
The vote on the preliminary project eligibility returns to the agenda after it was dropped last month so that the CRDA and AtlantiCare could work out more details, including how much of the $38 million cost CRDA would fund.
Staff Writers Dave Weinberg and Michelle Brunetti Post contributed to this report.
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