Heading into a series of exhibition games this spring, the South Carolina Ravens aim to bring arena football to Charleston in 2017. Led by team owner Andre Duncan, the Ravens will travel to Georgia this weekend to face American Indoor Football’s Savannah Steam.
While no official season schedule is set for next year, team representatives from the Ravens are currently seeking sponsorship deals and have already begun preliminary discussions to host home games at the North Charleston Coliseum. As a former player and assistant varsity football coach at Porter-Gaud, Duncan hopes to foster a true sense of community between the team’s players and local football fans, young and old.
“The kids are going to know the players by first and last names, not because they saw them on ESPN. I want the kids to actually know these guys, see these guys day in and day out and know what it really takes to succeed in life,” he says.
Between now and the end of May, the Ravens are scheduled to play six non-league games to prepare for a possible full season in 2017. All AIF games are played on a 50-yard field with artificial turf. Unlike traditional American football, indoor teams field eight players rather than 11. After games in Florida and Georgia, the Ravens will return to South Carolina May 9 to square off against the Myrtle Beach Freedom.
Duncan says he hopes to keep tickets prices affordable for local games and plans to use youth football programs and community outreach efforts with Charleston County schools to give back to home-team fans.
“If your next-door neighbor is a player for the South Carolina Ravens, you see that guy every day,” he says. “You see what he goes through, and you see him work out. You see what he does to prepare. It’s more of a personal feeling between the players and the kids that they live around. That’s what we want. We want a community team here in Charleston.”