ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – The Jersey Shore is about to become a destination for Arena Football fans. A new team is officially coming to Atlantic City.
Presidents were nominated inside the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. The Beatles toured here, the Rolling Stones and now, it’s going to be home to an Arena Football team.
“We are here to announce that the Arena Football League is bringing a professional sports team to Atlantic City,” said Ron Jaworski, chairman of the Arena Football Executive Committee.
With his signature enthusiasm and a giant poof of confetti, Jaworski, an Eagles legend, ushered in a new era for professional sports in Atlantic City.
Jaworski, who’s the majority owner of the Philadelphia Soul, has been instrumental in expanding Arena Football to Atlantic City.
“It’s your team. We want you to rally the city around your team,” said Jaworski.
Construction is already underway at Boardwalk Hall, where the yet-to-be-named team will play home games.
The iconic venue has hosted every kind of event, from the Beatles’ 1964 American tour to Mike Tyson fights and, of course, Miss America.
But a banner in the rafter for the now-defunct Boardwalk Bullies hockey team is a reminder that professional sports teams have had a hard time lasting in Atlantic City.
“I guess we have to prove them wrong,” said Jaworski. “I believe in South Jersey. I believe in the Atlantic City region and I believe they will support us.”
The season runs from late April through mid-July and most games are on Saturdays.
The tourist-friendly schedule will help boost the fledgling team and there are already plans to incorporate sports betting.
For those who may check out Arena Football for the first time, think short-field and lots of scoring.
“It’s football. It’s tackling, it’s hitting, it’s blocking. It’s catching the football. All the basics you have to do, you have to do in this league, but you have to do it quicker because the field is a little smaller,” said Ron James, the head coach of the Atlantic City team.
The team has its first game in early May. All it needs now is players and a team name.
There were more than 2,000 submissions for the team name, but the top five are: the Royal, the Jackpot, the High Rollers, the Gamblers and the Blackjacks.
The name will be announced in a couple of weeks.