Tag: nashville sports

Nashville Sports Loses Nightwatch gains Power

nightwatch.pngPowerMost people won’t hear about it on the local news but the more obscure sports in the Music City has lost one franchise but gained another recently.

The Nashville Nightwatch professional ultimate frisbee team announced this week that they will no longer field a team in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).  The Nightwatch played four seasons in the AUDL’s Southern Division but never had a winning season.  They showed a lot of promise at times but could only post an 8-44 record and finished last place each season.  In their Facebook announcement this week the team posted:

“We would like to thank our players and supporters from the last 4 years. Going forward we will not be playing in the AUDL. We are going to turn our efforts into building our community through club efforts and focusing on our Professional Women’s team, Nashville NightShade. We will be forming a club team with the goal of competing at the highest level. Our experiences learned in the AUDL will allow us to give our club team a pro experience and grow with our community. More information to come, and thank you for your support.”

The Nightwatch organization has been one of the more influential franchises in promoting women’s ultimate so it appears that the Nightwatch could live on through their female counterparts.  I’m not sure how the club team will work out and competing at the “highest level” will look like but with the AUDL being the only professional ultimate league, this announcement will leave a void.

The Nightwatch could never get the following necessary to sustain a start-up professional franchise, especially in a non-major sport.  The press never really helped the Nightwatch plus the fact that they could not field a competitive team on the field.  The team also could never find a good home as they began at Tennessee State University in their inaugural season then moved to Overton High School in their second season and then a terrible move to Hunter’s Lane High School in North Nashville the following season and finally to an awkward field at Vanderbilt University.  The move to the Vanderbilt area was one I thought would help but the home field was not really a spectator-friendly venue.

With the demise of the Nightwatch, another team has moved into the void as the Nashville Power brings the city their first indoor football team since the Nashville Venom played in 2014-2015 at the Municipal City Auditorium.  The Power will also call the Auditorium home when they kick off their season in the spring of 2019.  The Power will play in the Elite Indoor Football League which is basically a semi-pro type league in comparison to the bigger leagues.  The Power will join 12 other teams located throughout the East and Southeast.

Although they are playing in an obscure league, they will have a local favorite involved.  One of the greatest arena league players of all-time, Cory Fleming, is the Power’s defensive coordinator. Fleming played for the Kats (1997-2001, 2006), Carolina (2002) and Orlando (2003-05). The former Stratford and Tennessee star was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Will this new indoor team make it?  I doubt it.  The league looks pretty weak.  There had been rumors of the return of the Nashville Kats franchise in the National Arena League (NAL) or even a new team in the Arena Football League (AFL) but nothing has been made public.

Don’t be surprised if the Power doesn’t last any longer than the Nightwatch.

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What Sport Will Expand To Nashville Next?

leagues

It remains to be seen what will happen with Nashville’s bid for an expansion team in Major League Soccer (MLS).  Nashville Mayor Megan Barry joined the group in New York City in their meeting with MLS to pitch Nashville to them.

While we wait for the fate of Nashville’s attempt to bring professional soccer to the Music City, I was wondering about other leagues that might consider adding Nashville.

Major League Baseball (MLB) – Probably not much of a chance of Major League Baseball relocating or expanding to Nashville.  We have the Atlanta Braves to the south of us and the Cincinnati Reds to the north.  Expansion to 32 teams is coming but Nashville is behind other hopefuls such as Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver, Charlotte (NC), Portland (OR),  Austin (TX), Las Vegas (NV) and Columbus (OH).  Both Tampa Bay and Oakland are having battles with their stadiums so those teams could relocate as well.  Nashville has First Tennessee Park but it would need a major expansion for a major league team.

National Basketball Association (NBA) – The NBA hasn’t said when they would expand or how many teams they would add but you can be assured that Seattle (WA) will be one of them.  I’m not really sure that Nashville is an NBA city.  Bridgestone Arena is a top-notch arena that could support an NBA team but arena dates would be difficult.  Memphis has an NBA team but that’s Memphis.  I don’t know anyone that drives to Memphis on a regular basis to watch the Grizzlies.  The NBA’s short-list of cities includes Seattle (WA), Pittsburgh (PA), Omaha (NE), Las Vegas (NV), Vancouver, Louisville (KY), Mexico City, Kansas City (MO), St. Louis (MO) and a second team for Chicago.   I could see the NBA going to Louisville before coming to Nashville.  Kentucky is a hotbed for college basketball and seems like a good fit.

Arena Football League (AFL) – Even with the league down to only five teams this season, the league is still alive.  Nashville had a team called the “Nashville Kats” through a ten-year span from 1997-2007.  The team was pretty successful on the field and at the gate.  They played in two ArenaBowls and had an average attendance of 9,000 per game.    The league is going to expand, probably by three more teams in 2018 but the league has not made public the cities with interest that could join their current roster of Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.  A new Nashville team would be a hit and a resurrection of the Kats would be good for the league.  The only thing that is a little iffy is whether or not the Arena Football League will rebound from its current state of life support.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Indoor lacrosse is a lot like hockey but is played without ice or skates.  The traditional outdoor game of lacrosse is scaled down to a hockey rink.  The games are very physical and high scoring.  The NLL currently has nine teams.  The closest team to Nashville is the Georgia Swarm.  Nashville would be a natural rivalry if the league placed a team here.  I think Nashville fans would love the NLL but it would be competition with the Nashville Predators.   If the lacrosse team couldn’t play in Bridgestone Arena, they could play at Municipal Auditorium.   The league is targeting owners who already have NBA or NHL franchises so Nashville could be in the mix.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Outdoor lacrosse has become increasingly popular over the years and the MLL’s most recent expansion added the Atlanta Blaze to make it a 9-team league.  Most of the teams play in college stadiums so that’s a positive for Nashville.  The league plays at 14-game schedule during the spring and summer months.   The sport is on the rise in Nashville as youth leagues continue to spring up.  If Major League Soccer doesn’t come to Nashville, the MLL might want to take a chance on bringing a team to Nashville.

Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) – Indoor soccer has never been a “major” sport but the professional league still exists in the form of the Major Arena Soccer League with 17 teams across North America.  I’m not sure Nashville would support indoor soccer as much as they would an outdoor team.  With little exposure, and likely none by the local market, a team would probably not be able to play in Bridgestone Arena but might play at the Municipal Auditorium.

Other Sports Leagues – I think it’s just a matter of time until another indoor football league claims territory in Nashville.  The established Indoor Football League (IFL) snagged the Arizona Rattlers from the Arena Football League but have no teams east of Nebraska.   The Arena Pro Football (APF) league evolved from other leagues including the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) which had a franchise in Nashville (2014-2015) before the league folded.  Although the Nashville franchise won the league title in 2014, most Nashvillans didn’t have a clue……The NBA’s Developmental League might be a good option for Nashville.  Perhaps working with the Memphis Grizzlies although the Grizzlies have already decided to own and operate an expansion franchise in the D-League and plan to locate the team in Southaven, Mississippi in the Landers Center which will be closer to Memphis…..As for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), there is probably no chance since Nashville does not have an NBA team and the league is trying to remain stable with the teams they already have…..The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) has a professional Frisbee league in operation as well and the Nashville Nightwatch will be playing in their third season this spring.  The team needs some serious exposure because it’s a great sport to watch.