The Indoor Football League’s Bay Area Panthers team has chosen Morgan Hill’s Outdoor Sports Center as their practice location for the 2023 season, according to an announcement from the city.
The Panthers’ move includes about 25 players, eight coaches and the team’s operational headquarters for the season, which takes place March through August. The team and its staff will use not only the OSC, but also the Morgan Hill Aquatics Center, Centennial Recreation Center, local hotels, meeting spaces, apartments and office spaces, says a press release from the City of Morgan Hill.
The city and its tourism proponents have been working with the Panthers organization to facilitate the move since October 2022. That effort includes site tours and negotiations with Visit Morgan Hill, the city’s recreation and economic development departments and the OSC operator, says the press release.
The move will also provide local jobs, and will be a boon for small businesses, the press release notes.
“This partnership is possible thanks to a collaboration between Visit Morgan Hill, the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center and the City of Morgan Hill,” Morgan Hill Public Services Director Chris Ghione said. “We are thrilled to have the Bay Area Panthers choose Morgan Hill for their practice location and are honored to support the Panthers for a successful season.”
The Panthers’ choice to locate in Morgan Hill in 2023 also confirms the city’s attractiveness for sports and recreation.
“Morgan Hill’s desirable civic amenities and supportive community network make us an ideal home base for the Bay Area Panthers,” said Krista Rupp, Executive Director of Visit Morgan Hill. “Their decision to move here reinforces Morgan Hill as a preeminent regional sports destination.”
The Panthers will play 15 games in 2023, with seven home games in San Jose.
The IFL is the largest and most prominent indoor football league in the U.S., according to the city’s press release.
Promotional benefits of the Panthers’ partnership with Morgan Hill include advertising, group tickets and digital media collaboration, according to the city. “The hosting arrangement also entails engagement opportunities for local businesses and organizations, such as sponsoring team meals, special events, game night promotions, player appearances, youth programs and volunteering,” says the press release.
Excitement for the 2023 season builds with the return of the Bay Area Panthers head coach Darren Arbet, who is an Arena Football Hall of Famer.
Morgan Hill community members will have a chance to “Meet the Coach” at a free welcoming event hosted by the city, Visit Morgan Hill, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and the OSC, says the press release. The event will take place at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road, at 5:30pm Jan. 26. The program includes a season preview, live music, a prize drawing, light refreshments and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.