Fresno Falcons Fold

December 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Monday night ends six decades of the Falcons playing in Fresno. The team reported a 40-percent decline in ticket sales forcing them to shut down. Up close, Friday night's game had a lot of energy. But a wide view showed the problem: empty seats. Chris Cummings owns the Falcons. Cummings said, "I can't blame the city for being frustrated. I can't blame the fans for being frustrated. I too join them in the frustrated."

At one point, the falcons hoped the city would buy the team. But city Spokesperson John Wallace said that was never a viable option. Wallace points out tax payers have already put money on the line. Wallace said, "We've invested $3-million dollars just in the last year on improvements at Selland Arena including a giant Jumbotron and new ice ... we would like to see it made use of."

Falcons supporters rallied outside city hall Monday morning. Season ticket holders were angry and hoped to be compensated. Some spent more than a thousand dollars to attend Falcon games until April, but Cummings provided no guarantees, "Over the next few days, we are going to start trying to figure out how we are dealing with the season ticket holders and corporate sponsor."

Cummings also owns the Grizzlies Baseball Team and Fuego Soccer Team. He says at this point both are financially stable and not facing demise like his hockey team. Cummings said, "It's mainly a result of the poor economic conditions we are in the midst right now. We stopped drawing the size crowds we need to sustain the team."

The Falcons laid off 35 employees. The owner said if someone purchases the team in the spring then the falcons could play again in fall 2009.

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