Professional football made a return to Central Ohio on Saturday evening as the Columbus Destroyers took the field at Nationwide Arena for the first time in almost a decade. The Destroyers welcomed the Albany Empire to town and the 7,035 fans in attendance couldn't be more excited.
Unfortunately, Columbus found itself on the wrong side of a 56-40 scoreline but fans really didn't seem to mind. Those in attendance appeared very happy to see their team back in action. Fans dusted off their old uniforms from the previous incarnation of the Destroyers and proudly wore them around the terraces of Nationwide Arena. Jerseys of past heroes such as Matt Nagy and CoCo Blalock were spotted and even a jersey featuring former Ohio State quarterback Justin Zwick made an appearance.
The front office is enticing fans by trying to get them out to Nationwide Arena, here are some reasons why you should check out a game in the near future.
Ticket prices in the Arena Football League are very manageable and deliver great value. It's up to the consumer how much to spend on a typical game day. According to Ticketmaster, fans can expect to pay as little as $23 for a lower bowl ticket.
For upgraded experiences, fans can invest more than $100 and get on field level to take in all the action. This allows you to experience all the hard-hitting action up close and personal. If you are lucky, you might even have a player crash over the boards and into your lap.
Why can't we have gridiron action during the summer? Are you going to be religiously watching this league? Likely not. The arena season runs until the late July and early August and that takes you right into the buzz of the NFL preseason.
The fan experience
Those attending Arena Football games can expect die hard and passionate fans. These people LOVE the game of football. If a ball flies into the stands (which is a frequent occurrence) it becomes the property of the person who catches it. Players are very accessible to the fans. It isn't uncommon for those in attendance to get the chance to interact with the competitors at the conclusion of the game.
Fans typically like high scores, hard hits, and good football. Those are three elements that you will find in Arena League action. The Destroyers and Empire combined for 96 total points during Saturday's contest. You won't find scorelines that high in football (unless you are a fan of the Big 12). Lots of scoring means plenty of celebrating and it's fun to see what the players come up with to celebrate their accomplishments.
Do you still need convincing? Check out a game and let us know what you think. Share your favorite gameday elements with us in the comments below.