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Rockford Hoping There's No "Rush" To Leave The Stateline

A three-game audition is bringing cautious optimism that Rockford could be a permanent home to an AFL franchise.
ROCKFORD, Ill.--The rush is on to get the field ready for the Chicago Rush. It's an opportunity for Rockford to capitalize on a lucky break.

 

"I think given (the Chicago Rush) ownership issues and given some things that have happened in the league, we probably took on a lil bit more than we expected," RAVE Executive Director Gordon Kaye said.

 

With three Chicago Rush arena football games now schedule for the BMO Harris Bank Center this summer, Kaye knows what's at stake.

 

"We have an opportunity to establish Rockford as a market that a potential owner would be foolish to pass on," said Kaye.

 

Saturday's game against Utah and next week's game against San Antonio were moved away from Allstate Arena back in February because of scheduling conflicts in Rosemont. The July 13th game against Cleveland was added to the Rockford slate due in large part to the financial mess the Rush organization finds itself in.

 

In February, David Staral, Jr. purchased the franchise after the AFL removed the previous ownership because of capital issues. However, Staral was found to have financial problems of his own. His personal bankruptcy case surfaced last month along with a handful of embezzlement convictions. After bouncing a $50,000 check to pay for rent of the Rosemont arena, Staral was removed from his position and the AFL took control of the franchise.

 

With the front office in limbo, the timing couldn't be more perfect for Kaye and Rockford to go after a major pro sports franchise.

 

"I think if we really look at this as an opportunity to prove to potential owners and to prove to the Arena Football League that arena football can be successful here, we can really build on something," said Kaye.

 

Meghan Calvagna has been scrambling to help put together this week's event. The SMG Rockford Marketing Director says the buzz on social media has picked up this week.

   

"It's just exciting to see these different things want to come to Rockford," said Calvagna. "They approached us with this idea and it's something that we thought would be great for Rockford and great to see Rockford thrive."

 

It's an ambitious goal for the BMO Harris Bank Center, but Kaye says there's only one way Rockford can hang on to the Rush or engage in discussions for another AFL franchise to call the Stateline home.

 

"This is a simple issue of putting butts in seats and having our community respond to the opportunity here."

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