Brooklyn Bolts will be the borough’s first pro football team since 1946
Brooklyn is getting it’s very own professional football team. Unfortunately, it won’t be an NFL team, but starting this fall MCU Park in Coney Island will host the Brooklyn Bolts, a team in the newly formed Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL).
“New York is an important market to us for several reasons,” FXFL Founder and Commissioner Brian Woods told Peter Schwartz of CBS New York. “Number one, for the media presence. And, obviously, the partnership with the Brooklyn Cyclones embodies our business model for this league.”
The FXFL is a new developmental league designed for players out of college that couldn’t quite make it into the NFL and players cut by NFL teams that wish to continue their development. It also hopes to attract coaches and refs looking to make the jump to the pros. It will begin this October and will feature four teams including the Bolts. The league hopes to eventually partner with the NFL similar to the NBA’s D-League or the MLB’s minor leagues.
“We’re a developmental league first and foremost,” said Woods. “That’s a priority for us. We see ourselves as the unofficial developmental league for the National Football League.”
Other teams include the Miami Blacktips, the Omaha Mammoths and a not-yet-named team from Boston. There will be six regular season games plus playoffs and games will be held during weekdays to avoid conflict with the NFL and NCAA. Rosters will start with 40 players, who can opt to leave if they get an NFL offer. The league hopes to fill rosters with 90-95 percent of the players coming from NFL training camps.
“This is going to be an NFL-caliber product on the field,” said Woods. “The product on the field is going to be exceptional and we really feel like the fans are going to be excited. These are the top young players. Some of them might just need a year or two to develop.”
This is not the first professional team to play in Brooklyn. It actually had an NFL team from 1930 until 1946 that played at Ebbets Field that was called the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1944, they briefly changed their name to the Brooklyn Tigers before it merged with the Boston Yanks in 1945 and moved to the All-America Football Conference in 1946.
Aside from the Cyclones, Brooklyn has struggled to keep other minor professional teams in the borough. There have been numerous failed attempts at starting minor-league basketball and hockey teams. Part of the reason those teams failed was because of their location at Floyd Bennett Field which is not accessible via subway and is hard to get to by bus even and has a small seating capacity.
The Bolts might be able to avoid a similar fate by keeping costs low, which is why the teams are playing in minor league baseball stadiums, and being in the much more public transportation accessible MCU Park in Coney Island. If the league can eventually partner with the NFL it would also go a very long way toward being sustainable.
The season starts on Oct. 8 with home games scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 15; Friday, Oct. 24; and Friday, Nov. 7. Season tickets start at $20 per seat and are available on the Brooklyn Cyclones’ website. Checkout the Bolts on Facebook and Twitter.