It will unfortunately be a while before Cleveland Gladiators fans get to see the team play again.
The Arena Football League announced Tuesday the Gladiators will be placed on a temporary hiatus for the 2018 and 2019 seasons due to the Quicken Loans Arena renovation project. Construction crews are expected to do most of their work when the Cavaliers are not playing, leaving the Gladiators in limbo.
“The Gladiators have established a strong level of support and, while this required hiatus to accommodate the needed construction elements of the project is necessary, we also understand it is important for our community and the long-term future of The Q as an important community asset,” Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski said in a statement.
Founded in 2008 after moving from Las Vegas, the Gladiators previously went on hiatus after that first season due to financial problems in the AFL. They returned in 2010, and four years later played for the league's championship in Arena Bowl XXVII. They went just 5-9 this past season, but still managed to make the playoffs as the AFL had been reduced to just five teams.
AFL Commissioner Scott Butera addressed the concerns of Gladiators and AFL fans in his own statement, saying the plan is for the team to return in 2020:
The Gladiators are a historic AFL team and remain an important part of the AFL. We believe the renovations to The Q are impressive and will create a state of the art fan experience. We look forward to having the Gladiators return in 2020. While we are enthusiastic about The Q transformation, we remain committed to continued growth for the 2018 season and beyond. The AFL has significant expansion opportunities and strategic initiatives which are currently under discussion. We believe the future of the AFL is very bright.