The One Thing That Will Save the Billings Outlaws Football Team
Until recently, everything appeared well
The current version of the Billings Outlaws kicked off their season earlier this spring with fanfare. Representatives from Pick Six Entertainment had made the media rounds, hyping the return of the franchise. Sponsorships, season tickets, and VIP tables had been sold, and fans were looking forward to the return of fast-paced, high-scoring indoor football games at MetraPark.
Allegations of unpaid bills and a new team owner.
The Outlaws have won most of their home games, lost a few on the road, and now have a 6 - 4 record as they head into the playoffs this month. Fan attendance has been fair to moderate (home games have averaged around 2,000 people), but enthusiastic. Late last week, just days before the Outlaws Memorial Day game I was told from reliable sources close to the team that bills have not been paid for weeks.
Players and coaches were not getting paid. Dancers and servers were not getting paid. They reportedly have a huge bill at the local hotel where players stay. The same scenario was allegedly happening at the same time in Rapid City, SD where Pick Six Entertainment was involved with the Rapid City Marshals team, as the Rapid City Journal reported. On the Outlaws website, a story dated 5/31 notes that Championship Indoor Football has taken control of both the Outlaws and the Marshals. A statement from CIF reads,
The CIF believes in both markets. The fans and corporate partners in both Billings and Rapid City have shown they want indoor football. We will assign full time personnel to both markets to do a full accounting of the operations and to identify and vet new ownership for each team. The fans in Billings and Rapid City can have confidence that indoor football will return in 2023.
Our fingers are crossed that they'll return next season.
The one thing that can save the team.
I caught up with Tom Smith, a longtime contributor to indoor football in Billings. Smith was the General Manager of the Billings Outlaws during their approximately 5-year heyday in Billings in the early 2000s. Fans remember the buzz and excitement of those games, which routinely filled 5,000 seats at the Metra.
Smith believes there is one primary thing that will save indoor football in Billings; community support. Regardless of who owns the team, he said it's the fans that make the team successful. We sat down and chatted for ten minutes or so about the current situation with the Outlaws and what can be done to righten the ship. Take a listen below.
The next home game for the Billings Outlaws is Saturday, June 4th. You can get a ticket for just $12 at SeizeTheDeal.com Come out and cheer on the team. They need our support now more than ever if Outlaws football is going to remain in Billings.
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