With the XFL on the sidelines for 2022 and possibly 2022, there was a lot of eyes on the CFL. However, the CFL recently had to postpone the start of the 2021 season due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in Canada. The league is aiming for a return on August 5, but this could still be postponed. A big factor in the delay is that the league is betting (literally) on having fans in the stands.
The direction infections go north prevents them from reaching this goal.
Meanwhile in the south in Jacksonville, Florida; Things look very different. The National Arena League’s Jacksonville Sharks have just announced that their 2021 home games will be at full capacity.
NAL NEWS: Jacksonville Sharks received city approval for full participation for the 2021 season. For the full article, visit https://t.co/84vJXSRNwf @NALFootball # nal2021 pic.twitter.com/NgmyhDgwrJ
– NationalArenaLeague (@NALFootball) April 28, 2021
This decision is made with the backing of Jacksonville City officials. The Sharks are the 2019 NAL Champions; where they hit a record-breaking 15-1 record. The Sharks will return to the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena and, according to the league’s press release, masks are not mandatory.
Just yesterday we reported that former St. Louis BattleHawks defender Joe Powell had signed with the NAL’s Carolina Cobras. Little did we know we would have more National Arena League coverage anytime soon.
This is a huge step forward for the future of fan-visitors. As more people around the world receive the vaccine, we would expect and hope that things will return to normal.
You can read the full Jacksonville Sharks press release below:
JACKSONVILLE SHARKS REACH FULL CAPACITY FOR HOME GAMES
JACKSONVILLE – 2019 National Arena League Champion Jacksonville Sharks announced today that all Sharks 2021 home games will be at full capacity for fans to participate. That decision was backed by the Jacksonville Sharks Organization and the Jacksonville City Hall, who are aligning each other to bring affordable family fun to Jacksonville this summer. The latest decision serves as a gauge of the progress of the city of Jacksonville and the state of Florida as many indoor venues across the country continue to be subject to capacity constraints. These restrictions have resulted in many sports teams being closed or inactive. This was the case for NAL league member West Virginia Roughriders, who like the Sharks had a championship season in 2019 and would be the Sharks’ season opener opponent in 2020.
2019 saw the Jacksonville Sharks hit a record year with a 15-1 record and a 14-game winning streak that resulted in the Sharks claiming their second trophy for the National Arena League Championship. The team also set records for year-end NAL awards, including Franchise of the Year, Best Head Coach, Best Assistant Coach, Best Fans, Best Medical Team, Best Dance Team, and Best Matchday Experience. After a long, cautious year of waiting, the National Arena League Champions return to the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena, and most importantly, the NAL’s best fan base, Shark Nation. Although masks are not mandatory, they are recommended for those who wish to wear them. We will continue to work to create a safe and healthy environment for every game during the 2021 season. The city’s pivotal decision to act now to help the team achieve this goal will not only be a step in the right direction for the team, but the city as Mayor Curry was a true advocate of the state’s flagship approach, to do business. Live sports and entertainment return to everyday life for the Floridians.
“I’m thrilled to see our championship-winning Jacksonville Sharks recapture the field in front of a full crowd at the arena in June,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “The people of Jacksonville have been through so much in the past year, and I am grateful to be able to return to the lifestyle we know and love in northeast Florida. Thank you to the Jacksonville Sharks, the National Arena League, and the hardworking team at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena for bringing live sports back to River City. “
In 2019, the Sharks had an average of more than 7,000 fans per game and nearly 9,000 fans for the National Arena League Championship game, which was played in Jacksonville in August 2019. The Sharks’ ability to run at full capacity with the league’s best fans only improves the team’s chances of bringing a third National Arena League title to Jacksonville. The Shark tank is one of the toughest arenas for visiting teams, as evidenced by the team’s 68:27 home record.
“The decision to have fans back in the arena is great. We cannot thank Mayor Curry and the governor enough. It’s been a tough year, not sure what we would have done without the support of our fans. We look forward to coming back to the arena and playing football. “Said Sharks President Steve Curran
2021 Sharks Home Schedule
* All home games will take place at 7 p.m. EST
Saturday June 12th against Carolina Cobras
Sat June 26th against Albany Empire
Sat July 17th against Columbus Lions
Saturday July 24th against Orlando Predators
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The 2019 and 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions all play their home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation memberships for the 2021 season are now available. For more information, visit: www.jaxsharks.com or call 904-621-0700 ext. 717, if you are a local business owner, the Jacksonville Sharks Jaws packages offer FREE promotion of your business with the purchase of 4 season tickets for more information
Visit: www.jaxsharks.com/become-a-jaws-partner. Follow the Sharks on Facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks and the Attack Dance team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance