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LFL USA drops two teams, relocates another ahead of 2014 season

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Preparation for the 2014 season of the Legends Football League USA, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, is underway and part of that preseason activity is a league restructuring that will see the Minnesota Valkyrie and Philadelphia Passion franchises suspend play, as well as the intrastate relocation of the Ohio franchise from Cleveland to Toledo.

The LFL office announced on Tuesday, December 17 that the Cleveland Crush will be calling the Huntington Center in Toledo home for the upcoming season. The Crush will remain in the Eastern Conference. Tickets are on sale now for two home games, scheduled for May 10 and June 21. The league believes that there is an existing fan base for the Crush in Toledo and that will result in a successful move.

LFL Chairman Mitchell Mortaza said in his statement announcing the move that the Q Arena in Cleveland “did not fit within our business model moving forward,” and went on to say that “the Huntington Center is an incredible setting for LFL Football and it also provides proximity to draw athletes, coaches and fans not only from Toledo but Cleveland and Detroit as well.”

While a location has yet to be determined, open tryouts for the Crush are scheduled for Saturday, January 4.

On Friday, December 20 the league announced that both Minnesota and Philadelphia would suspend play.

The Passion have been a member of the LFL since the inaugural season of 2009, and played for the Eastern Conference title last season. However, attendance was poor and even resulted in a canceled game with the Atlanta Steam. The Valkyrie will not return due to the league’s new stadium business model, according to Mortaza.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance but one that every new sports franchise has to deal with, the idea of expansion into the right markets while pulling back from markets where the ideal situation does not exist,” said Mortaza.

Both Philadelphia and Minnesota could return in coming years. The Passion are projected to return in 2015 with new ownership, while Minnesota could be back as early as 2016 if a new arena deal is worked out.

The changes will reduce the number of teams in the league to 10. The Western Conference will consist of the Chicago Bliss, LA Kiss (owned by Gene Simmons), Green Bay Chill, Las Vegas Sin, and the Seattle Mist while the Atlanta Steam, Baltimore Charm, Jacksonville Breeze, Omaha Heart, and Toledo Crush will make up the Eastern Conference.

The LFL USA is considering adding franchises in New England, the Bay Area and Dallas in 2015. The league projects a maximum of twenty-six franchises by 2020 and is also considering a North American league that would include teams from Canada, the United States and Mexico.

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