Current season or competition:|
2011 UIFL season
|No. of teams||16|
|Most recent champion(s)||Saginaw Sting|
On February 18, 2011, the first-ever UIFL game was played between the Saginaw Sting and the Eastern Kentucky Drillers. The inaugural game was held at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan. The league co-founders are Michael Taylor and Andrew Haines; Haines was also the owner and founder of the Atlantic/American Indoor Football League and the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League. The UIFL has a logo nearly identical to the one used by the AIFL in the 2006 season (though it favors blue instead of red), and will apparently also use the AIFL red, white, and blue football also in use in the American Indoor Football Association. The league is based in Canton, Ohio.
The league's first five teams were located in the Appalachia region, with teams based in Canton, Ohio; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Pikeville, Kentucky; Highland Heights, Kentucky; and Huntington, West Virginia. Of those five markets, three (Canton, Johnstown, and Huntington) had teams in Haines' previous league, the AIFL. The two markets in Kentucky have never had a professional indoor football team in any league (though Highland Heights is usually considered part of the Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area, and the city of Cincinnati has had several indoor teams). The sixth team, the Saginaw Sting, came from the Indoor Football League.
The complete 2011 season concluded without any teams folding, nor any games being missed or rescheduled. The Northern Kentucky River Monsters finished with the best regular season record, 11-3. However, due to league sanctions they were not able to host any playoff games and were dropped to a four seed.
Saginaw finished 9-5, followed by Eastern Kentucky at 8-6, Huntington at 7-7, Johnstown at 6-8, and Canton at 1-13.
Saginaw defeated Northern Kentucky, 48-47, in the first semifinals of the Ultimate Bowl I Playoffs, sponsored by Trophy Awards. In the other semifinal game, Eastern Kentucky advanced to the championship game with a 20-4 victory over Huntington. Ultimate Bowl I, also sponsored by Trophy Awards, was played Friday, June 9, 2011, at the Dow Center in Saginaw, MI, with the Sting claiming a 86-69 victory over the visiting Drillers.
Following the Northern Kentucky River Monsters' elimination from the playoffs, owner Jill Chitwood and the UIFL came to terms allowing the River Monsters to leave the UIFL. They are slated to join the Continental Indoor Football League as the Muncie River Monsters in 2012.
On June 15, 2011, Michael Taylor and Andrew Hines sold their controlling slate in the UIFL to Assured Equities IV, a Florida corporation, for the sum of 1.45 million dollars. As part of the acquisition, UIFL Co-Founder Andrew Haines will remain as League President and a member of the Board of Directors, and UIFL Co-Founder Michael Taylor will continue as a consultant and a member of the Board of Directors for Assured Equities.
For 2012, there will be at least eleven new expansion teams, based in Rome, Georgia; Estero, Florida; Danville, Illinois; Tupelo, Mississippi; Marion, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; East Ridge, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; Erie, Pennsylvania; Lakeland, Florida; and a team in Northern Kentucky to replace the River Monsters. Of these markets, five (Rome, Danville, Tupelo, Raleigh, and Lakeland) previously had teams in the AIFL, while Estero previously had a team in arenafootball2; East Ridge previously had a team in the National Indoor Football League; the Cincinnati Commandos and Marion Blue Racers have come previously from the Continental Indoor Football League; and the Erie Explosion moves from the Southern Indoor Football League. (Incidentally, the acquisition of the Explosion brings the league full-circle; the Explosion was the last surviving remnant of the AIFL, tracing its history to the Erie Freeze in 2005.)
Recently announced was the league's intent to place a new team in Northern Kentucky's The Bank of Kentucky Center, which would replace the departed Northern Kentucky River Monsters. The new team is called the Kentucky Monsters and plans to retain the River Monsters' prior records. However, because of the River Monsters' move to the CIFL and maintaining their identity, it appears the UIFL history would be shared between the two teams.
An asterisk * indicates a team new to the UIFL for the 2012 season.
|Canton Cougars||Canton, Ohio||Canton Memorial Civic Center (4,000)|
|*Erie Explosion||Erie, Pennsylvania||Louis J. Tullio Arena (5,586)|
|Johnstown Generals||Johnstown, Pennsylvania||Cambria County War Memorial Arena (4,000)|
|Western Pennsylvania Sting||Johnstown, Pennsylvania||Cambria County War Memorial Arena (4,000)|
|*Cincinnati Commandos||Cincinnati, Ohio||Cincinnati Gardens (10,208)|
|*Danville Dragons||Danville, Illinois||David S. Palmer Arena (2,350)|
|*Kentucky Monsters||Highland Heights, Kentucky||Bank of Kentucky Center (10,000)|
|*Marion Blue Racers||Marion, Ohio||Veterans Memorial Coliseum (3,500)|
|*Carolina Aviators||Raleigh, North Carolina||Dorton Arena (5,100)|
|Eastern Kentucky Drillers||Pikeville, Kentucky||Eastern Kentucky Expo Center (5,700)|
|Huntington Hammer||Huntington, West Virginia||Big Sandy Superstore Arena (5,600)|
|*Tennessee Rail Runners||East Ridge, Tennessee||Camp Jordan Arena (4,000)|
|*Florida Tarpons||Estero, Florida||Germain Arena (7,128)|
|*Lakeland Raiders||Lakeland, Florida||Lakeland Center (8,178)|
|*Mississippi Hound Dogs||Tupelo, Mississippi||BancorpSouth Arena (7,000)|
|*Rome Rampage||Rome, Georgia||Forum Civic Center (2,140)|
|Year||# of teams||Expansion teams||Folded teams||Annexed teams||Suspended teams||Left league||Relocated teams||Name changes|
Eastern Kentucky Drillers
Northern Kentucky River Monsters
Mississippi Hound Dogs
Tennessee Rail Runners
Western Pennsylvania Sting
Marion Blue Racers*
|Northern Kentucky River Monsters***|
- * - Joined from Continental Indoor Football League
- ** - Joined from Southern Indoor Football League
- *** - Left to join the Continental Indoor Football League
- **** - Suspended indefinitely by the UIFL