The U.S. Cellular Center has hosted concerts, professional wrestling events, high school athletic championships and was the home to four professional basketball teams and one indoor soccer team. Did you know it houses an Indoor Football League team, one of the top indoor/arena football leagues in the nation?
The U.S. Cellular Center is home to the Cedar Rapids River Kings of the Indoor Football League. The 2020 season will mark the second year of the team’s existence.
In June of 2018, an ownership group led by Los Angeles-based businessman Roy Choi and New York-based colleague Matt Stone purchased the new Cedar Rapids franchise. Choi has an ownership stake in three IFL teams: the River Kings, the second-year San Diego Strike Force, and the expansion Oakland Panthers.
Choi and Stone bought the team with the focus on the team’s commitment to Cedar Rapids. The team name was part of a “name-the-team” contest. The River Kings name, provided by the submission of Jennifer Hadenfeldt, was based on local historical ties and for the Cedar River which runs through downtown Cedar Rapids. The “lion” logo is based on the city’s strong Czech and Slovak history and culture. The Bridge of Lions unites the Czech Village neighborhood with the eastern bank of the Cedar River and the NewBo district.
The Indoor Football League is one of the top indoor/arena football leagues in the nation and is growing. The league employed 10 teams in 2019 and that number will grow to 12 in 2020. The River Kings’ main rival are the Iowa Barnstormers. The Des Moines franchise won the IFL championship in 2018 and has a rich history of success and notable players like National Football League Hall of Famer and Cedar Rapids native, Kurt Warner.
The River Kings bring in a new head coach with championship experience to the 2020 squad. Victor Mann was a championship-winning coach in the Champions Indoor Football League (CIF). He led his team to three consecutive conference championship games and won the championship in 2017 and was named CIF Coach of the Year in 2016. Mann played collegiately under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder at Kansas State University. As a standout running back for the Wildcats, he was selected All-Big 12 for three straight seasons. Professionally, his stops included spots on the Kansas City Chiefs roster and five seasons playing in the Arena Football League.
Mann will have quality playmakers to utilize in all three phases in 2020. Derrick Bernard, a former Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year in the CIF, takes over at quarterback. Former national champion running back from Auburn, Michael Dyer, comes to Cedar Rapids. Treavor Pugh adds a quality presence to the secondary and All-IFL returner William Gibbs adds speed to the special teams.
Come out to the U.S. Cellular Center for a season filled with family, fun, and affordable entertainment. The IFL brings a concert-like atmosphere that is played on the size of a hockey rink with the scoring of a basketball game. Single game tickets start as low as $13 and season tickets (seven games) start as low as $81.90.
2020 Home Game Schedule:
March 7 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Quad City Steamwheelers
March 19 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Tucson Sugar Skulls
April 4 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Sioux Falls Storm
April 10 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Green Bay Blizzard
April 26 at 3:05 p.m. vs. Frisco
May 30 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Iowa Barnstormers
June 27 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Green Bay Blizzard
Cedar Rapids River Kings