OAKLAND — The Oakland Panthers, a new Indoor Football League Franchise, will join the Indoor Football League (IFL) and play seven home games at the Oakland Arena in the Spring of 2020. The team is founded by Professional Football legend and Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch, along with Roy Choi, an entertainment and gaming entrepreneur.
Team co-owner Marshawn Lynch said, “I believe the power of football has the ability to transform a community and the families who live there. I’ve seen it and lived it. I’m excited that Da’ Town will get another team to call its own. I attended some Indoor Football games last year and had a good ass time. The games have lots of fluidity and tickets are priced so that the entire family can check it out.”
Lynch added, “I was blessed with my time and journey making it to the league but there are more ways of getting there than the route I took, so it’s hella important to me, to keep finding opportunities for players to pursue their dreams of getting to that next level and I know the Panthers and this league can help with that.”
Naming the team as the Oakland Panthers is no accident. The Oakland community has a long history with the name. It references the Bay Area indigenous cougar and the recent blockbuster superhero film (directed by Oakland native Ryan Coogler). It also pays tribute to Oakland’s history of activism with the groundbreaking social action of the Black Panther movement of the ‘60s.
Co-founder Roy Choi, already the owner of two IFL franchises, adds, “Oakland and the Bay Area embody activism, work ethic, passion, and loyalty. Those qualities are represented by the Panther name and by my co-founder Marshawn Lynch. While I am obviously impressed by his on-field performance, it is his community work that is the most inspiring. There is no one better than Marshawn to lead such a community-oriented sports franchise like the Oakland Panthers. Additionally, we’re also exploring ways the community can also have ownership in our team.”
The Oakland Panthers franchise will support its athletes in a unique manner. Given the challenges of Bay Area housing prices, the Panthers will not only provide salaries for players, but the team will also provide lodging and meals during the season.
Lodging and practice facilities will be located in the East Bay.
The Panthers have also named longtime sports executive Scott McKibben as its President. McKibben has helmed numerous sports projects and facilities, including the Rose Bowl, the Coliseum Authority, and the assembly of the A-11 Football league.
McKibben added, “Indoor football in the Spring will give local families a great entertainment option. We are dedicated to creating a world-class experience with music, lighting, fan/player interactions, and being financially accessible to every possible fan and family. We’re also thrilled by the early excitement and enthusiasm of Bay Area businesses who want to support us.”
The Panthers will play 7 home games at the Oakland Arena each year along with one or two rounds of playoff action should the team qualify.
The Panthers have announced a 10-man coaching staff led by Bay Area football icon Kurt Bryan as the Head Football Coach. Bryan enters his 28th year of coaching football, after having served as a high school and collegiate football coach in the San Francisco bay area and northern California for nearly three decades. He has been recognized as an innovator by his peers at every level of the game as Co-creator of the A-11 Offense in 2007. Bryan has helped to advance the game into its future with improving player-safety by design and significantly expanding the game’s options using fully interchangeable offensive players.
Bryan added, “My goal is to develop Oakland’s new indoor professional football team into an exciting, premier destination franchise for football fans to eagerly support and one that talented players will aspire to join. I believe every player in the league will look to the Panthers as a model franchise where they can grow their talent and perform at their highest level for passionate fans.”
Founded in 2008, the IFL is the longest continuously operating professional indoor football league in the country, now with 12 teams in the league.
More information on ticket sales, sponsorships, player transactions, fan experiences, tryouts, and community engagement opportunities will be available in the months ahead at www.Oakland-Panthers.com. More information on the Indoor Football League can be found at www.GoIFL.com.