By Zachary Baru
Arena football fans in New England have long anticipated the return of the sport to the region. And although the Massachusetts Pirates have brought indoor football to Worcester since 2018, this spring marks the first time a coast-to-coast indoor football league will play in New England since 2000.
Fans should be careful to use the phrase “arena football” as the former AFL once held patents on parts of the sport that are still not incorporated into other indoor football leagues. The most noticeable are the nets behind the end zones. And yes, this invention alone helped the AFL classify their brand of indoor football as their own sport, called “arena football”. But before we go down that rabbit hole, let’s save that for another story on another day.
The Arena Football League certainly has interesting rules, but also a well known brand name in the sports world. The Pirates’ new league is has built up a following, but has some growth to do before it can get onto ESPN like the AFL for many seasons, as recently as last year.
The IFL, by all accounts, is a strong, large league, with a good online and social media presence. It’s YouTube Channel not only is well run, but streams the leagues’ games live each week of the season. And with both an east and west coast presence, the Pirates have found a good home in a league that continues to grow each season.
For fans of the indoor game, the future of indoor football in New England looks like a positive one. A new league, a good venue, and a bright future all surround the Pirates as they go into their new season this spring.