The Columbus Lions will be part of the Southern Indoor Football League next season.
The league announced on its Web site Wednesday the addition of Columbus to its lineup.
The Lions have spent the previous two seasons in the American Indoor Football Association and were members of the World Indoor Football League in their first year.
Columbus’ contract with the AIFA was up, and the Lions made the change in large part due to travel associated with playing in the more widely spread AIFA, said coach Jason Gibson.
“We were looking at our opportunities like any other business,” Gibson said. “It was really a regional move for us that lets us play teams that are closer. We didn’t have a problem with the league we were in, but this was just economically smarter for us.”
The SIFL also announced the signing of the Carolina Force of Greenville, S.C., another former AIFA team.
The additions give the league six confirmed teams, which include the Austin Turfcats, the Lafayette Wildcatters, the Louisiana Swashbucklers and the Texas Hurricanes. More teams will be announced as they become official, according to an SIFL release. Last season, the league had eight teams.
With the league spread from South Carolina to Texas, it could make a large impact on the Lions’ travel budget, Gibson said.
“Last season, we had six overnight trips, and, this year, we’re looking at maybe one if we’re lucky,” Gibson said.
Fans can expect the same level of play from the Lions and their opponents, Gibson said.
“The competition is going to be the same,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. That’s not changing.”