(02/11/14) - The Saginaw Sting are ready to kick off a new Continental Indoor Football League season. They'll face the Port Huron Patriots, Sunday afternoon, at the Dow Event Center.
"Man, we're pumped. Obviously, having football in the spring is great, and we're excited for our first home game," said Stuart Schweigert, Saginaw Sting co-owner.
Schweigert, a former Detroit Lion and Heritage High School graduate, returns for his third year as the team's co-owner. He has some big plans in place for the opener.
"Tailgate starts at 2:30. We have Zeke, the best Frisbee-catching dog in America, coming at halftime. During the game, we're bringing people down from the stands, face painting, balloon animals, a family environment at an affordable price," he said.
On the business front, the Sting have seen an increase in sponsorship - and ticket sales. Last season, the team averaged around 3,000 fans per game.
"The fans have been great, and we're looking to fill that house. We haven't had a sellout yet, and that's what we're looking to do this season," Schweigert said.
After winning back-to-back championships last May, the team fell just short of another, losing to Erie in the final seconds. The players hope a winning reputation, and a little personality, can help bring even more fans to the Dow.
"This is Mr. All Purpose, Enrique Shaw, aka The Guru, and I'd like to point out that he's such a celebrity that he gets on all the posters," said A.J. McKenna, Saginaw Sting quarterback.
The team will focus its community involvement around an anti-bullying campaign, while also supporting the MS Foundation and Boys and Girls Club.
"If they want to give back to one of those foundations or one that they like, they can buy group sales tickets and we'll give $5 from each of those tickets to that foundation. We've given back in the last two seasons $160,000," Schweigert said.
On top of all that, the Sting's owners are now in their second year over-seeing the entire league. Schweigert believes they've managed to create some much needed stability.
"It's looking really good. We've got 10 teams in five states. We have three in Michigan and we're looking for quality teams that we can depend on every season, and that's what we're starting to get now," Schweigert said.
The Saginaw Sting's home opener is Sunday afternoon at 4, at the Dow Event Center. For ticket information, click HERE.
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