WICHITA FALLS - The Wichita Falls Nighthawks are officially moving to the Champions Indoor Football League.
Nighthawks Owner Drew Carnes, along side League Commissioner Ricky Bertz and Head Coach Billy Back made the announcement Tuesday, indoor football is returning for another season. They say it's a decision, that will hopefully keep the Nighthawks in Wichita Falls for years to come.
"It's not too hard to see that financially that this has not been successful and they are a lot of markets that are successful," said Carnes. "But the bigger thing than the market, for me was the league."
And that's one reason why Carnes said the team is leaving the Indoor Football League (IFL) and joining the Champion Indoor Football (CIF) league.
"I think we've done a good job at increasing attendance," Carnes said. "My wife and I prayed continually over it, what was the best decision for us. What was the best decision for the future of the team, the organization what makes the most sense."
"We're going to have rivalries from Frisco, to Mesquite, to Amarillo, and possible Saline as well that fans can come and enjoy games home and away," said Back. "Our fans can go to their place, their fans can come to our place. So, we're excited about that. Also, we're excited about the 2 hour bus trips. 2 hours there, 2 hours back."
Another change is personnel. The CIF allows teams to only have 8 protected players on the roster, the rest are considered free agents throughout the season.
"It's not a restriction, it's more so to get the younger guys more opportunities," Back said. "There's a lot of old head in indoor leagues that feel like they deserve more. This allows to teams to more recruit, to go out and actually find players they need to bring in."
Carnes said the Nighthawks are for entertaining, but most importantly giving back to the community they call home.
"As long as what we're doing in the community is worth more than what we're putting into it, we'll do this in perpetuity," Carnes said.
"For him it's not about dollars and cents, it's about the impact in the community and I know that from Drew to Coach Back and everybody else, the coaching staff and everybody else in the organization, that's just one thing that's made sense for us to accept them to into the league from day number 1," said Bertz.
The Nighthawks are entering a 3-year partnership with Spectra to continue to host their games at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The CIF is still in the process of finalizing their schedule but Commissioner Bertz said the season should kick off the first weekend in March.