Brooklyn Bolts hope to bridge the gap
Brooklyn’s Pro Football Team Kicks Off at MCU on Oct. 15
The Cyclones are done, the Nets haven’t started yet and the Islanders are still more than a year away from moving into Downtown’s Barclays Center.
But fear not Brooklynites, there’s a new team in town that’s ready to bring professional football to our fair borough next month, and it will be playing its home games at Coney Island’s MCU Park.
The Brooklyn Bolts, members of the newly formed FXFL, will kick off their inaugural campaign on Wednesday night, Oct. 8 at Florida International University against the Miami Blacktips.
The Bolts’ home opener against the yet-to-be-named Boston franchise will be played on Oct. 15 along Surf Avenue, with tickets starting at just $25 per game.
It will be the second of six regular-season contests in the four-team league that FXFL commissioner Brian Woods hopes will eventually become a fully functioning developmental league for NFL prospects and cast-offs.
“The Brooklyn team is kind of how I envision us going forward long term,” Woods noted. “We partner with a Minor League baseball team and utilize their existing marketing and infrastructure. They handle day-to-day business and we handle football operations.”
“We think there is a lot of value in what we’ll offer,” Woods added. “These undrafted rookie free agents that get cut in the coming weeks, a lot of them are talented and have the ability to play in the NFL. They need a year or two of playing at a lower level to develop, or maybe they just need to stay in football shape for when the NFL needs them. We think there is a real need for that.”
The Cyclones, working in coordination with the Bolts, who feature a dramatic black-and-yellow color scheme and thunderbolt logo set against the Brooklyn Bridge, welcomed their new co-tenants with open arms.
“We are very excited to be partnering with the FXFL and bringing professional football back to Brooklyn,” said Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ COO.
Having staged a territorial draft to help recently cut NFL players and undrafted free agents fresh out of college find an opportunity to continue honing their skills for another shot at the big time, the FXFL will also have a team in Omaha.
Each squad will consist of 40 players with six to eight coaches working for each franchise.
The league revealed that games will be televised, though no official word of how or where has been released, and Brooklyn will host three contests during the campaign, including the opener, as well as games on Oct. 24 and Nov. 7.
“Without a doubt, we will kick off our first week of games Wednesday, October 8,” Woods insisted.
The games will be played on weeknights specifically so that they don’t conflict with NFL games, and the quality of play should be very high considering most of these players have been in NFL training camps, had actual NFL experience or just finished up at major Division I programs.
“We’re a minor league model, but we’re a major league product,” Woods told ESPN.com. “What you’ll see on the field is NFL caliber. The on-field product is going to be exceptional. These are the best young players coming from the NFL.”
Much the way Cyclones fans are accustomed to eventually seeing their favorite Brooklyn players make the jump to the parent-club Mets, the Bolts are hoping the Giants and Jets will be scouting their talent for a potential shot at the NFL.
“Our contract is structured in such a way that there’s maximum flexibility,” Woods said. “If a player comes to us and the New York Jets come calling a day later, he’s going right to the Jets immediately, even if it’s just for a workout or a physical.
“We’re really trying to work in a symbiotic relationship with the NFL even though we don’t have a formal agreement with them in place right now,” he added. “We definitely want to show them that we want to work with them and I think we’ve got a model that makes sense.”
And like they’re Minor League Baseball brethren, the FXFL hopes to be as fan-friendly as possible.
“We’re planning on having postgame autograph sessions, getting the kids down on the field, letting some of our players throw passes to them – anything we can do to make the experience engage the local fan base in a more intimate fashion, we’re going to explore that opportunity,” Woods emphasized.
“We’ve already seen huge interest from the New York market. From season tickets to advertisers, there has been some great buzz.”
For more info on the Bolts and their recently released promotional schedule, visit www.brooklyncyclones.com
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