It's Official: The Rush To Play Remaining Home Games in Rockford

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ROSEMONT- After weeks of speculation, rumors, uncertainty and silence, the Arena Football League has finally made a decision on the remaining home games for the Chicago Rush. With everything that has happened over the last six weeks, playing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont is not a viable option for the time being.

Originally the Rush had two of their nine home games scheduled for the BMO Harris Bank Center {Formally the Metro Center} upstate in Rockford. The scheduled games for Saturday, June 8th and Saturday, June 15th were moved there due to scheduling conflicts in Rosemont. This week, the fate of their remaining home games has been revealed.

The home game slated for Saturday, July 13th against Cleveland will also be played at the 5'000 seat venue in Rockford. The home game originally scheduled for Saturday, July 27th against San Jose will now be an away game instead. The San Jose Sabrecats will now get a 10th regular season home game. Under normal circumstances, everyone gets nine home games each out of an 18-game schedule.

Currently, the Rush are 5-5 on the season and they hold first place in the AFL's Central Division by a half game. Should the Rush make the playoffs this year, they would then have to find a temporary venue if they were to get a home playoff game. The biggest concern at the moment is whether or not Rush fans would be willing to make the almost two hour drive to Rockford.

Attendance for Rush games over the last couple of seasons has been at an all-time low. Ticket sales for the team created by Walter Payton have been down since the league suspended the 2009 season. The 2013 campaign has seen the worst total attendance in this history of the AFL, a league that has been in existence since 1987.

Moving the team further from what's left of the fan base is not the best solution. Unfortunately it's the only solution at this point in time. The Rush are in a financial behind and they owe a substantial amount of money to the Allstate Arena. It would appear that the league does not want to continue to incur the expense of playing in the second-biggest arena in the State of Illinois.

The turnout for these final three home games could be the deciding factor for the future of the AFL's largest franchise. As for the season ticket holders who will be the most effected by this decision, Rush executive vice president Ryan Simmons sent out the following e-mail to address their concerns:

Dear Valued Chicago Rush Season Ticket Holder:
As most of you are aware by now, David Staral has been removed as owner of the Rush franchise due to his inability to fulfill his contractual obligations. As a Season Ticket Holder, you hold an elite position among Rush fans, so I wanted to communicate directly with you before an official statement is released from the League office.
I know that many Season Ticket Holders are feeling frustrated by our inability to communicate anything earlier, but in the midst of all the rumors we only want to communicate to you the facts. Over the past month, no plans of any kind were set in stone regarding the future home games of the Rush. Until the AFL Board of Directors could evaluate the situation and make an informed decision regarding the Rush for the remainder of the season, we continued to play our regular season as scheduled.
The decision moving forward is the Rush will remain playing their home games, as previously scheduled, on June 8th and 15th in Rockford at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The Rush home game against the Cleveland Gladiators will now also be played in Rockford at the BMO Harris Bank Center July 13thwith kickoff set for 7:05 PM. Please bring your July 13th tickets you received in your season ticket package and simply trade those in to the BMO Harris Bank Center box office as early as June 8th to redeem your Rockford July 13th tickets.
Our final regular season home game which was to be played at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont against the San Jose SaberCats July 27th will now be played at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Due to the game being hosted by San Jose, the Arena Football League along with the Chicago Rush are offering you one of the following ways to receive a credit for the amount your season tickets cost for this specific game

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Option 1 – Additional Chicago Rush game tickets in Rockford equivalent to the number of Chicago Rush vs. San Jose SaberCats tickets you hold from your season ticket package.
Option 2 – Magic Waters Waterpark vouchers equivalent to the number of Chicago Rush vs. San Jose SaberCats tickets you hold you’re your season ticket package. These could be used as part of your Rockford trip experience. http://www.magicwaterswaterpark.com/

Option 3 – A Chicago Rush t-shirt per Chicago Rush vs. San Jose SaberCats game ticket.
Option 4 – A refund for the amount of your Chicago Rush vs. San Jose SaberCats game ticket(s).
We ask that you please notify us by e-mail of the option that you chose by no later than Thursday, June 6th. We can be reached by rockford@arenarush.com. If you must contact us by phone please leave a message at 312-465-2211 and someone from the Rush will get back to you.
We recognize the financial and emotional investment you have made in Chicago Rush Arena Football. The Rush players, coaches and staff recognize the depth of your passion and we again thank you for your support.

With Sincerest Thanks,
Ryan

Now that the home game issue has been settled, the team now needs to reorganize itself and decide it's future. Hopefully that future will include a new owner who has the resources, capability, credibility and know-how to bring this franchise back to it's golden age. This Sunday afternoon I will be at Toyota Park covering the Chicago Fire's home game against the D.C. United. Kickoff will be at 4pm and you can get game updates from me via Twitter @GabeSalgado82

 

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