June 5, 2014

Indoor football success depends on Dalton’s fans

The Daily Citizen

— Georgia Rampage owner Kacee Smith is committed to making an indoor professional football team succeed in Dalton.

But any professional sports franchise needs help to survive and eventually thrive. While Smith is holding up his end, attendance at Rampage home games indicates this area hasn’t yet embraced the team.

Smith plans to bring the Rampage back next spring for their third season in the Carpet Capital of the World. The team plays home games at the trade center and competes in the X-League, which finished its first season this past spring. The Rampage finished 2-5.

The Daily Citizen is excited to see Smith bring the Rampage back for another season, but we worry this could be the last year. Smith hasn’t said as much, but he did say in a previous interview that he has a family to support and cannot continue funding the project “out of our bank accounts.”

That’s understandable. Businesses can only continue for so long without enough customers.

The trade center can seat about 1,600 for Rampage games. Smith didn’t know the per game attendance but said the highest mark was about 600. Another X-League team, the St. Louis Attack, regularly brings in some 5,000 fans per home game. Of course, that’s a larger market than Dalton, but Smith wants attendance numbers here higher. He hopes to be at about 1,000 next season.

To improve those numbers, Smith now plans for all home games to be on Saturday nights. The team had all Monday night home games in 2012 and played on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays this past season.

Smith said the Rampage lost money for a second straight year. He added, “Hopefully, we keep getting a little better until we break even.”

Yes, hopefully. Rampage games are a fun environment and the league features unorthodox rules that some fans might enjoy if they give the games a chance. But if not enough fans attend, the team may have to shut down or move elsewhere.

Smith is doing his best to provide an entertaining product. Ultimately, the fans will determine whether indoor football has a home in Dalton.