Express to 'go dormant' for 2013 season, will remain part of IFL
The Reading Express' upcoming season has been derailed. The team owners announced Tuesday that there will not be a 2013 season.
The team's owners, Ted and Lisa Lavender, who have owned the Express since 2006, said they have decided to have the International Football League team "go dormant" for a year.
"We never entered into the ownership of Express intending to make a profit of any kind. We kind of looked at it again as an opportunity," said Lisa Lavender.
More than 3,000 tickets were sold per game in 2011, Lavender said. Last season, that number dropped to around 2,000, she said, causing them great financial strain.
"It's a hard road. Minor league sports in markets like ours are struggling right now, especially the arena type sports," said Lavender.
The Lavenders' full-time job is running their Reading business, Berks Fire Water Restorations Inc. The husband-and-wife owners said they have been looking for a new ownership group to take over the team. They will continue to pay a league fee, said Lavender, to retain their ownership of the franchise during the 2013 season.
"We think a dormancy is going to let us ride out somewhat of a storm that's going on," said Lavender.
Their decision is going to impact the Sovereign Center, said Zane Collings, the arena's regional general manager.
"We live off of people's discretionary spending, and that's gotten smaller," said Collings.
For 2013, the Express were scheduled to play at least seven home games. Because the team will not be playing next season, Collings said, the Sovereign Center is going to have to make a few changes.
"Hopefully we can pick off a couple of those and bring in some additional concerts or some other events. Time will tell as we work through this," said Collings.
Ted and Lisa Lavender said their decision was not easy, especially since two of their players were signed by NFL teams last year. They believe going dormant is the smartest choice in keeping the future of the Reading Express alive.
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