Columbus Lions to return to American Indoor Football League in 2024

Columbus Lions release 2023 schedule
Columbus Lions release 2023 schedule
Published: Aug. 5, 2023 at 1:04 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - “They’re back!”

After a successful undefeated season in the American Indoor Football Alliance league, the Columbus Lions are moving on to a league they’re all too familiar with.

An official release came down from the team on Friday that after over 18 years and across 17 seasons, the Columbus Lions have remained one of the oldest and most enduring arena football franchises globally. The team’s tenure will continue with the announcement of a new league affiliation for the 2024 season.

The team had a triumphant 2023 season, where they outscored opponents 466 to 135 to clinch their fourth championship and second undefeated season in history, the Lions now are seeking the need for new challenges. That fact, along with the cries of Lions’ fans and arena football commentators alike, has sent led them to rejoin the American Indoor Football (AIF) league for the upcoming 2024 season.

The AIF is excited about the return of the Lions franchise.

“We are thrilled to have the Columbus Lions join the AIF for the upcoming season. With their strong legacy and commitment to excellence, the Columbus Lions will undoubtedly add a new dimension of competitiveness to our league. The Columbus Lions have a rich history of success and a passionate fan base, making them a fantastic addition to our roster of teams. We look forward to their participation and the excitement they will bring to the competition,” John Morris, Commissioner of the AIF, said.

With the addition of the Lions, the AIF now comprises five teams, and the league has declared more expansion teams are to come in the coming weeks. The league has operated for 80 years and looks to make the 2024 season one that’s unforgettable one for fans and players alike.

“Adding the Columbus Lions to the AIF is a momentous occasion for us. Their presence will undoubtedly elevate the level of competition in our league, and we are excited to see what they bring to the table,” Larry Clark, Director of Operations for the AIF, said.

Lions majority owner Richard Maslia emphasized their commitment to the team’s history and longevity.

“We had such a great season this year that we knew we wanted to grow upon what we had started and we believed we owed it to our fans to position ourselves in a way that would allow for the Lions to continue the history and longevity of the team,” Maslia said.

According to reports, The Lions were the last team to have won the league’s championship before it went dormant until the upcoming 2024 season.

During that championship game, the team went on to beat the West Michigan Ironmen 74-32 in 2016.

This upcoming 2024 season, the team will look to pursue an elusive double repeat championship if the team can continue their winning streak.

Lions General Manager Lee Snow believes this new merger will be a good thing for the franchise.

“We’re proud to have competed at such a high-level last season and look forward to that level of play coming from the teams we will face next year. It should be a great season to be a Lions fan and ticket holder,” Snow said.

The Lions strongly encourage all fans to renew or purchase their season tickets promptly.

For more information, visit the team’s website.