TAMPA — When word spread this summer that the Arena Football League was folding, longtime Storm coach Tim Marcum, though distraught, was hopeful that some form of indoor football would one day return to town.
Thursday, he got his wish.
Lightning co-owner Oren Koules announced that the team and Arena Football One, a new 15-team indoor league, will relaunch the Storm. Marcum, who guided the Storm for 14 seasons and to three arena league championships, will return as coach and general manager.
"We're back, and we're happy," Marcum said at a news conference.
The league will begin play in April with the Storm once again calling the St. Pete Times Forum home. Arena Football One purchased all the arena league's assets, allowing the Storm to keep its nickname and logos.
Koules said he is optimistic the franchise will thrive. "This is an unbelievable football market," he said.
Quarterback Brett Dietz and defensive lineman Kelvin Kinney, part of the Storm's 2008 squad that was the last to play, attended the news conference. Marcum has begun putting together a roster, and both were listed on it.
"Coach (Marcum) called and said, 'Do you want to play?' " said Kinney, who used the off time to earn a degree from Virginia State. "And I was like, 'Yeah!' "
Marcum said the arena league folded after 22 seasons because it outgrew itself, partly because of large salaries. In Arena Football One, costs will be minimized, he said. Not only will players earn less, but coaching staffs will be smaller.
Additionally, tickets will be cheaper.
The league, which also will have teams in Jacksonville and Orlando, has no TV contract. But Marcum said discussions are ongoing with Versus.