Jacksonville to host ArenaBowl XXVII

While the Orlando Predators were announcing early this week they will host this year’s ArenaBowl, the Jacksonville Sharks continued to work on a bid to host next year’s championship game.

Sharks and city officials are working with the Arena Football League to bring the 2014 championship game to Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, team managing partner Jeff Bouchy and Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment executive director Alan Verlander said.

“We are working with the city to put all our ducks in a row,” Bouchy said. “I’ve told the commissioner [Jerry Kurz] we want it. It’s too much of an economic impact not to want it here.”

It will be up to the Sharks to create a deal with the AFL, Verlander said. The city will partner with the arena team to make the pitch and to market and promote the game.

“We’re in,” Verlander said. “They’re taking the lead, but we will do whatever we can to make this happen. We will bring all the players together to make this happen.”

Arizona and Philadelphia played in last year’s ArenaBowl in the Superdome at New Orleans with an announced crowd of 13,648.

This year’s game will be played Aug. 17 at the Amway Center. The city of Orlando, AFL and Predators said they will turn the game into a three-day celebration to include parties, award ceremonies, a Kiss concert and the championship game. ArenaBowl XXVI will be televised live on CBS.

The 14-member panel of owners unanimously voted on Jan. 14 to approve Orlando’s bid. The Predators started working on their bid two years ago, team managing partner Brett Bouchy said.

Jeff Bouchy will have the benefit of seeing how Orlando put together its winning bid since he and Brett Bouchy are brothers. He is confident if his group makes a pitch for next year’s game, the AFL will approve it.

“If we want it, I think we’ll get it,” he said.

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I think Jacksonville would be a solid location for the ArenaBowl. It's not a destination city like New Orleans or Orlando, but Orlando isn't far away and the Atlantic Ocean is right there. Good fan support in Jax should help sell tickets as well.

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