Three cheers for indoor football.
As long as no one expects miracles -- why not?
Yes, it'll be nice to have another local team to follow next year when the American Indoor Football league expands and brings its play to the York City Ice Arena.
But don't expect that to turn around the fortunes at the Vander Avenue facility, which has been a drain on the city budget since 2003.
That was the year York officially returned to the ice rink business -- dragged kicking and screaming back to the ice rink business, more precisely.
Two years earlier, city officials had made the incredibly shortsighted decision to guarantee a $7.31 million bond, which allowed the nonprofit York City Recreation Corp. (YCRC) to build the new arena in Memorial Park.
What could go wrong, as long as the corporation made its payments on time?
Yeah. About those payments ...
It wasn't long before the YCRC was unable to keep up, and city taxpayers inherited the $620,000 annual payments, which they've been making ever since.
The arena operates on an annual budget of about $1 million, but most of that money covers the cost of operating the facility. Next year, the arena is projected to contribute just $150,000 toward the debt, leaving about $470,000 for the cash-strapped city to find elsewhere.
Now some York City officials are touting the new football team as a way to help cover that annual contribution.
And yes, it will generate some money, but the only amount guaranteed is $4,000 -- the $1,000 fee for each of the four games the team plays in the arena from March until June. The arena is also entitled to a percentage of ticket and banner advertising sales, but what that's worth is anyone's guess.
In addition, the ice will have to be removed for the entire football season, taking any skating revenue out of the equation (although the facility's manager says those months are the slowest for skaters).
That's the downside.
The upside is it probably isn't going to cost taxpayers any more money -- and York arena football might just take off like gangbusters, bringing crowds to the rink who might otherwise never have set skate inside.
We hope that's the case.
Football organizers don't have to look far to see a local success story, and can do a lot worse than following the York Revolution's example.
The baseball team won back-to-back league championship, but its promotions and community outreach have done just as much to create a loyal fan base in a short period of time.
Time will tell if arena football can capture that same spirit.