News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

Greater Akron Chamber

Knight Foundation


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports


A Rubber Bowl re-do in the works
A great football tradition and a historic stadium may bring a team to Akron
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Sean Mason opens the gate at the Rubber Bowl. He hopes to bring a USFL franchise to town
Courtesy of Rudell
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Bringing professional football back to the Akron-Canton area and life back to the old Rubber Bowl are goals of a Canton entrepreneur. And WKSU's Tim Rudell reports that he's getting close to doing both.
Rubber Bowl re-do

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:39)


A comeback for the USFL
The United States Football League folded in 1987 after a five year run, plagued by franchise and financial woes. But, it is coming back, at least in name; and likely coming to Northeast Ohio. This USFL will be very different though: more of a football version of minor league baseball.

The new league kicked off its national tour of prospective franchise locations in Akron. Portland, Memphis, San Antonio, and Columbus are among other cities on the list. 

City offers verbal support
Akron Service Director Rick Merolla says in its current fiscal situation the city can’t do a lot directly to move a deal forward, but he would like to see the USFL come to town. “It seems like it is well run. It seems like they’re working closely with the NFL to not compete with them during the season. It's going to be a spring season; and kind of a feeder system for the NFL.”

Merolla also likes the USFL’s new business model. “Each team is going to have to put up enough funds to guarantee that players and coaches can get paid in case it folds — so they don’t leave people out hanging, as other leagues have done.”

Akron Rubber Bowl could be ideal
Canton businessman Sean Mason made his money in marketing. He heads the prospective local ownership group, and says the USFL is keenly interested in where games would be played. Mason says the Akron Rubber Bowl could be ideal. It has size, with easy access from I-77, and is a legendary sports venue in northeast Ohio. 

So, he’s negotiating to buy it from the University of Akron. He won’t say what he’s offering, but took me on a tour of what needs fixing — including replacement of all the seats, and a lot more: “The press box will remain the same, we’re just going to freshen it up. But the bottom will be luxury suites…and we’re talking to the architects about extending them all the way around. And then making a walk way. And you’d walk right into the suits from the back.” 

$7-8 million cost
The city of Akron’s Merolla elaborated earlier on how much the renovation could cost, saying an old estimate of $7 or $8 million may be outdated. "It’s probably north of that now, but I know they have looked at it in their due diligence and the numbers did not scare them. You don’t have to do everything up front. You can do some things to get into it, and then as revenue comes in do more later.”  

While Sean Mason takes some of his bankers around the Rubber Bowl, his wife Stacey, who hasn’t been to the stadium before, is watching a plane land at Akron’s Fulton airport right next door…and talks about her impressions of the former home of the Akron Zips football team. “It’s beautiful. He warned me that I might say ‘what were you thinking?’ But my reaction is that it is beautiful. It’s a bit overwhelming. But it’s a real football stadium”

More than football
She says her husband Sean is considering the site for other kinds of the entertainment. “He’s looking at concerts. I’m a Christian, and even Christian concerts…it’s going to be exciting.”

Sean Mason says he expects to sign with the USFL by September and then move quickly onto picking players, tryouts, training camp and, by next spring, be playing games. And he’s already working on a name for the team: the Akron Fire. 

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

A small group of tea party and Democrats protest at Kasich campaign stop
Enjoyed your excellent coverage of the statehouse for sometime now, never dreamed I'd be on. The feedback from people has been great. Thank you. Doris Adams

Top staffers are leaving the FitzGerald gubernatorial campaign
I's too bad that the dirt on Fitzgerald dug up by Kasich's operatives and publicized heavily by the Yellow Plain Dealer has caused the weak staffers of the Fitz...

Churches come together to welcome and include Gay Games athletes
Nicely done!!! A little known fact about the El Salvadoran and Columbian scholarships.. A big thank you to the Faith Community for their support of Gay Games 9....

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University