Heroes welcomed as Fayetteville's latest indoor football team
Despite a rocky past in the sport, professional arena football will again be played in Fayetteville in 2012.
A new franchise featuring three local owners that will play in a fledgling league was introduced Thursday at the Crown Coliseum.
The Cape Fear Heroes will begin at least a 10-game regular season in March as a member of the American Indoor Football League. Local business people Barbara J. Spigner and Dimitrios "Jimmy'' Diamantopoulos, indoor coach and ex-player Charles Gunnings and AIF founder John Morris form the ownership group.
"It wasn't such a great ending last season,'' Morris said Thursday. "But we know what this community is about. They've supported teams through thick and thin. We felt like this was a great situation for us to come in and assist last year with the idea of coming back this year with a group of local owners, which we've done.''
Morris stepped in late last season to prop up the Fayetteville Force over the final four games season. The Force, a first-year franchise playing in the Southern Indoor Football League, experienced financial issues that put the team on verge of shutting down before Morris purchased the team.
The Force was the latest in a string of arena franchises to have failed to stand the test of time in Fayetteville. The Cape Fear Wildcats played in the arenafootball2 between 2002-04 before moving to Albany, Ga.
The Fayetteville Guard replaced the Wildcats, playing in both the National Indoor Football League and the AIFA between 2005-10 before going under.