Ocean Resort Casino will serve as the new Atlantic City Arena Football League (AFL) team’s official host hotel for the inaugural 2019 season, after on January 22 it was announced that the expansion team will play in Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in South Jersey.
According to the Press of Atlantic City quoting a Wednesday news release…
The Boardwalk resort which opened on June 28, 2018, will host the latest addition to the professional indoor American football league beginning in April for the start of training camp. The resort casino will also host referees and visiting teams throughout the 12-game season, which kicks off on May 4, 2019, when it plays Columbus, the AFL’s other unnamed expansion team.
“true Atlantic City experience“
President and Chief Operating Officer for the Atlantic City AFL, George Manias, said, “As we bring Atlantic City into the Arena Football League, we wanted to offer fans, the visiting teams and our officials a true Atlantic City experience. Ocean Resort Casino is a first-class property and will certainly offer a taste of Atlantic City. Our hope is that we showcase Atlantic City as a great AFL market, and we feel that our Ocean Resort Casino will set the tone for that.”
Manias is president of Trifecta Sports, which owns the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul and Albany Empire.
Franchise name vote:
On January 22, the league announced that the yet-to-be-named team would play in Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in South Jersey and that fans would be asked to help name the team during a public vote.
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, nearly 2,000 name submissions were received by the franchise and after narrowing them down to the top 10, an internal review process was conducted, which included a legal review, leading to the final five options for the team’s name.
The Press of Atlantic City further reports that the name has already been selected from the remaining five finalists, which include: Royals, Jackpot, High Rollers, Gamblers and Blackjacks. However, the final selection will not be formally announced until early March, along with the team’s logo, merchandise, uniforms, etc., according to Manias.
Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Ocean Resort, Peter Ciccone, said…
“We look forward to partnering with Atlantic City AFL and assisting in growing both of our brands. Atlantic City is continuing to prosper, and AC AFL is another great example.”
Discounted tickets and special rates will reportedly be on offer to fans of visiting teams, with additional information to be announced at a later date.
A three-year agreement with the AFL was unanimously approved by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in January. The New Jersey state governmental agency will reportedly make capital expenditures in the amount of $500,000 available to convert the former Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall, now Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, with improvements, including goal posts, nets and sidewall padding.
Sports betting significance:
Legalized sports betting is seen by both team and league officials as a huge part of the game-day experience. AFL Commissioner, Randall Boe, reportedly said that fans will be able to bet on all 12 Arena League games from the resort city’s seven sportsbooks. Additionally, the league is reported to be collaborating with Boardwalk Hall to develop technology that will enable in-game bets to be placed by fans from their seats.
Casino hierarchy shake-up:
The new owners of Ocean Resort Casino recently announced that the property’s former Chief Executive Officer, Frank Leone, and now ex-chief financial officer, Alan Greenstein, had both been let go.
Purchased in early January 2018 for $229 million by Colorado-based developer Bruce Deifik’s group, AC Ocean Walk, LLC, from Florida developer, Glenn Straub, Ocean Resort Casino had from September 2018 to January 24, 2019, reportedly endured some $16.9 million in operating losses.
After a divestiture agreement was approved on February 6, 2019, by state gaming regulators and former chief operating officer of the now-shuttered Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Eric Matejevich, named trustee of the agreement, last month the former Revel and new owner, New York-based hedge fund, Luxor Capital Group, announced the change of management, with plans for a $70 million investment in the Boardwalk property.
Matejevich, will also serve as Ocean Resort Casino’s interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.