Time running out for Force in search for new owner

The future of the latest incarnation of the Georgia Force is in doubt.

One of the current owners of the Arena Football League franchise, which moved to the Arena at Gwinnett Center from Hunstville, Ala., two years ago, acknowledged Tuesday he is looking for someone local in the metro Atlanta area to sell the team to.

However, those efforts have not been successful, and time for a new owner to be found for the 2013 AFL season is running out.

"We're trying to work something out to bring in local ownership," Force owner Doug MacGregor said when contacted by phone from his home in Gunnison, Colo. "But we're getting pretty close to a decision being made. ... Hopefully, we'll be able to get something worked out. The issue is that I'm a remote owner. I live out in Colorado and ultimately there needs to be someone local."

However, MacGregor, who brought the current Force to Gwinnett County along with Alabama businessman Donn Jennings in the summer of 2010, has been unable to find a local owner over the past few months, and there are signs the team may soon cease to exist.

The team's official website has been taken down, and according to sources close to the team, the franchise's corporate office in Norcross has been unoccupied, with the exception of team president Corey Remillard, since the beginning of September.

While Remillard declined comment when contacted Tuesday, MacGregor acknowledged that Remillard is the only employee operating the team's office, and that while there isn't necessarily a hard deadline for a new owner to be found, he anticipates that, "we should know by the end of the month."

MacGregor also had a message for Force fans who have either renewed or purchased new season tickets for the 2013 season.

"One thing I did want to make clear is that anybody who has renewed season tickets or bought (new) season tickets for next year, there have never been any charges made (to credit cards)," McGregor said. "So, there won't be a need for refunds (if the team folds)."

Since returning to the Arena at Gwinnett Center, the Force have had some success on the field, going a combined 20-16 and making the AFL playoffs in both seasons, including a trip to the American Conference finals before falling to eventually ArenaBowl champion Jacksonville in 2011.

Attempts to reach Force head coach Dean Cokinos for comment were unsuccessful.

But the results at the box office haven't been quite as successful, with the team averaging 4,658 fans per game in 2011 and 4,242 fans per game this past season.

The current franchise is the second Georgia Force team to play in metro Atlanta.

The first Force came to metro Atlanta form Nashville, Tenn., in 2002 and played here over the next seven seasons -- three at the Arena at Gwinnett Center and four at Philips Arena downtown -- before the original AFL folded following the 2008 season.