Albany Panthers season in jeopardy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Panthers season in jeopardy

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Albany Panthers say they will not be able to play a 2014 season if they cannot come up with $100,000.

"Unfortunately a fifth season [in Albany] is in jeopardy," Panthers owner Rod Chappell announced Monday.

Officials with the team said Monday that poor season ticket sales have left the team in need of more sponsorships to fill a $100,000 deficit.

If the team cannot raise the funds necessary, team leaders say they will not play.

"We'd be very disappointed," Chappell says on possibly cancelling the season. "We want to play. We have a team prepared to play. We just need that extra support."

The Professional Indoor Football League has given the team a one-week deadline to decide if they will take the field in 2014.

The team said they will make a decision on the season next Monday.

Several Panthers sponsors were in attendance for the announcement Monday. They say it's disappointing news, not just for their business relationship with the team, but for the city of Albany.

"It increases sales for our business, awareness for our business," says Sonny's BBQ general manager Eric McCallum, whose business has been a sponsor for two years. "Going out and getting into the crowds, it's awesome."

"The people in Albany need something to do," says Moe's Southwest Grill owner Mac Hare. "If this team goes away, that's going to be a big gap in things that we can do."

Chappell says it would be disappointing if the Panthers are forced to sit out the 2014 season considering the success the team has had in their four seasons in the Good Life City.

"We've been one of, if not the most successful franchises in the past four years in indoor football sports," he says. "We've brought a lot to the community, on and off the field."

He says not having a 2014 season does not necessarily mean the Panthers are done in Albany for good.

"That's been considered. Right now, we're only discussing 2014," Chappell says.

The Panthers training camp is set to begin at the beginning of March, with opening week on March 22.

Head coach Lucious Davis says the team is aware of the situation, but will continue to act as if the season is happening.

"It's really out of our hands," Davis says. "We're just preparing to play the same way we did the previous years."

Chappell says if the team cancels the season, current season ticket holders and sponsors will receive full refunds.

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