The Spokane Empire, formerly the Spokane Shock, is ceasing operations for 2018 season and probably for good. According to Seattle-based majority owner Nader Naini, to continue operations would be “a money-losing proposition.”
According to the Spokesman-Review, attendance during the early years of Spokane’s indoor football team was consistently 10,000+, gradually slipping to around 8,000 in 2015. After switching from the Arena Football League to the Indoor Footall League and the corresponding name change, the Empire saw attendance drop by nearly half, averaging only 4,682 fans per game in the 2017 season.
Marvo Reguindin, INBA General Manager, said having the Empire cease operations is sad and unfortunate. “We were excited to welcome a sports team as a member of our LGBT Chamber, our sister chamber in Seattle has several sports team supporting them including the Mariners and Sounders and professional women’s teams Seattle Reign (soccer) and Seattle Storm (basketball).
The following press release was posted on the Spokane Empire’s Facebook page on July 12 and also hosted on the team’s website.
Spokane, Washington (July 12, 2017) –We would like to thank the players, coaches, sponsors, fans and the entire Spokane Empire organization for another terrific season of professional indoor football. We came up short of our pre-season goals but it was not for a lack of effort.
When we took over the Spokane Shock franchise four years ago, we felt we could provide great family entertainment at an affordable price while putting a competitive team on the field for The Inland Northwest to enjoy for many years to come. When we made the decision to leave the challenged Arena Football League two years ago and join the Indoor Football League, we did so with the desire to become part of a league with a solid foundation and committed ownership groups which we believed would allow us to continue the effort to offer up affordable sports entertainment with a winning team on the field. With strong local support, we felt confident the business would thrive.
After much deliberation, we have made the decision not to play football for the 2018 season to allow ourselves time to explore our alternatives including identifying potential local partners who would like to join in the effort to continue indoor football in Spokane or an outright sale of the team. We will be refunding all 2018 season ticket deposits to the legion of faithful fans who continue to support the team.
To our current and former players, coaches and employees, thank you for your years of hard work, dedication, and commitment to Spokane indoor football.
And to all our passionate fans who continued to support the team and came out week after week, year after year, you were the backbone of the franchise. We thank you!
If you have any questions regarding season tickets payments or refunds please feel free to contact Empire Ticket Office at 509-242-7462