For 12 years, the Kixx have called the dark green AstroTurf and depressed sideboards of the Spectrum home.
Now Philadelphia's premier indoor soccer franchise is on the hunt for new digs after yesterday's announcement by Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider that the 2008-09 season would be the last for the historic arena.
Yesterday's news is just one part of a multifaceted alteration for the Kixx, as the franchise is also caught in the midst of the Major Indoor Soccer League's restructuring plan after the league decided to fold, revamp and reform at the end of the 2007-08 season.
For Kixx owner Jeff Rotwitt, the end of the Spectrum era rekindled fond memories of a run that included 11 playoff appearances and two MISL titles, but he says the franchise is already embracing change and moving forward.
"The Spectrum has been great, and we really saw Ed Snider, Peter Luukko and others more like friends than landlords," Rotwitt told the Daily News. "But I understand where they are coming from; the Spectrum is tired and it's time for a change. We are thrilled about what we contributed in our time there, but are also looking to continue our success elsewhere and have already begun looking at other sites."
According to Rotwitt, the team has considered Temple's Liacouras Center and the Pavilion at Villanova as new sites starting in the 2009-10 season. He said the final announcement on the Kixx' new home will be made by Labor Day.
Rotwitt also said the league reformation is flowing smoothly and new cities are looking to join. All this since the MISL's ownership majority group decided that a 16-game season similar to the NFL would cut costs and boost fan interest.As part of the new league, the Kixx will play the upcoming season at the Spectrum.
"We have terrific fans, loyal and valued sponsors, and have been fortunate to raise two championship banners at the Spectrum," Rotwitt said. "We will cherish our memories and tenure there. We're excited about our farewell Spectrum celebration coming this fall and hope to raise our third championship banner."
As for the Soul, newly minted National Conference champions of the Arena Football League, the Spectrum's demolition will mean inconvenience, not displacement.
The Soul's lease requires that they play their games at the Wachovia Complex. Because of Sixers and Flyers games at the Center, some creative scheduling could be required for Soul home games next season, including the possibility of weekend afternoon games or weekday games.
"The Philadelphia Soul are a part of the Wachovia Complex," said Luukko, Comcast-Spectacor president. "We had to move a few games to the Spectrum to accommodate the [Sixers and Flyers] playoffs, but we absolutely see the Soul in our future at the Wachovia Center."
Soul general manager Rich Lisk, preoccupied with his team in the July 27 ArenaBowl, isn't overly concerned. He said meetings to sift out details are pending and added, "We'll be fine." *