The Columbus Lions Join Storied Indoor League for 2024
For over 18 years and across 17 seasons, the Columbus Lions have remained one of the oldest and most enduring arena football franchises globally. And that continues to be the case with the announcement of a new league affiliation for the 2024 season. Having dominated the American Indoor Football Alliance in 2023, winning their fourth championship, the Lions are eager to bring more competition and excitement into the Lion's Den.
After their triumphant 2023 season, where they outscored opponents 466 to 135 to clinch their fourth championship and second undefeated season in history, the Lions recognized the need for new challenges. That fact, along with the cries of Lions’ fans and arena football commentators alike, has now led them to rejoin the American Indoor Football (AIF) league for the upcoming 2024 season.
The AIF was thrilled to welcome the Columbus Lions back into their league. John Morris, Commissioner of the AIF, praised the Lions' legacy of excellence and passionate fan base in a statement:
“We are thrilled to have the Columbus Lions join the AIF for the upcoming season. With their strong legacy and commitment to excellence, the Columbus Lions will undoubtedly add a new dimension of competitiveness to our league. The Columbus Lions have a rich history of success and a passionate fan base, making them a fantastic addition to our roster of teams. We look forward to their participation and the excitement they will bring to the competition."
With the addition of the Lions, the AIF now comprises five teams, with further expansions expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Boasting a front office over 80 years of experience in arena football, the AIF is poised to make the 2024 indoor season an unforgettable one for fans and players alike. And the return of the Columbus Lions to the league signifies the a mentality of continuous growth and appeal, with Larry Clark, Director of Operations for the AIF, expressing excitement about the collaboration by saying,
"Adding the Columbus Lions to the AIF is a momentous occasion for us. Their presence will undoubtedly elevate the level of competition in our league, and we are excited to see what they bring to the table. The Columbus Lions have a storied history in indoor football, and their return to the AIF signifies the league's continuous growth and appeal. We extend a warm welcome to the Lions and are eager to work together to make the 2024 indoor season an unforgettable one for our fans and players." - Larry Clark
Lions President and owner, Kacee Smith, highlighted the longstanding relationship between the Lions and the AIF leadership.
“I have known the men at the helm of the AIF for years and know that they love the sport and work very hard to provide exciting football to fans through. When the opportunity for the Lions to rejoin the league with its relaunch in 2023 I knew what we had to do.”
Likewise, Lions majority owner, Richard Maslia, emphasized their commitment to the team's history and longevity, aiming to build upon the success of the previous season and create a lasting legacy for the fans.
“We had such a great season this year that we knew we wanted to grow upon what we had started and we believed we owed it to our fans to position ourselves in a way that would allow for the Lions to continue the history and longevity of the team.”
The Lions were the last team to have won the league’s championship before its going dormant until the upcoming 2024 season when they beat the West Michigan Ironmen 74-32 in 2016. Making the 2024 season a search for an illusive double repeat championship if the Lions continue their winning streak through the season. (Fun Fact: Of the 4 championships under the Lions belt, 3 have been earned during the team’s first year in the respective league.)
About the merger, General Manager Lee Snow said, “We’re proud to have competed at such a high level last season and look forward to that level of play coming from the teams we will face next year. It should be a great season to be a Lions fan and ticket holder.”
As the Columbus Lions gear up for the 2024 season in the AIF, anticipation builds among fans and players alike. With their rich history, commitment to excellence, and passionate ownership, the Lions are poised to make a significant impact on the league and continue their legacy as one of the oldest and most celebrated arena football franchises in the world. The Lions strongly encourage all fans to renew or purchase their season tickets promptly. The 2024 season promises to be another historic one for the Lions, filled with thrilling matches, fierce competition, and memorable moments.