Play in Oakland, California
at the Oakland Arena
|Indoor Football League (2020–present)|
|Team colors||Black, gold and white |
|Owner(s)||Marshawn Lynch and Roy Choi|
|Head coach||Kurt Bryan|
|League championships (0)|
|Conference championships (0)|
|Division championships (0)|
The Oakland Panthers are a professional indoor football team based in Oakland, California. They are a member of the Indoor Football League (IFL) and that were set to begin play in 2020 at Oakland Arena. However, the 2020 IFL season was curtailed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic before the Panthers could play a game. After initially announcing it would return in 2021, the team subsequently also withdrew from the 2021 season due to the on-going restrictions during the pandemic.
The Panthers are co-owned by Oakland native and NFL All-Pro running back, Marshawn Lynch, and by Roy Choi, who also owns the IFL's Cedar Rapids River Kings and San Diego Strike Force. The Panthers are Oakland's first arena/indoor football team, as well as the Bay Area's first since the San Jose SaberCats, who played in the Arena Football League from 1995 until 2008, and again from 2011 until 2015, winning four ArenaBowl championships. They also ensured that pro football remained in Oakland after the National Football League's Oakland Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020, and that the Oakland Arena maintained a primary tenant after the Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco in the 2019–20 season.
On April 17, 2019, it was first reported that Roy Choi was in talks to bring an expansion Indoor Football League (IFL) team to Oakland for the 2020 season. Choi had previously purchased the Cedar Rapids River Kings and launched the expansion San Diego Strike Force in the IFL.
The Panthers were officially announced as an IFL expansion team on September 10, 2019, along with their logo, color scheme, and coaching staff by co-owners Roy Choi and former NFL All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch. The Panthers name references the indigenous Bay Area cougar, Oakland's involvement in the rise of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, and the blockbuster Oscar-winning Marvel Studios movie Black Panther, directed by Oakland native Ryan Coogler. A team of the same name had originally been announced to play in the proposed Freedom Football League in December 2018, though no news had come from that league after the initial announcement. Because of the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, the Panthers stated they would provide lodging and meals to their players in addition to their regular salary.
Head coach Kurt Bryan is best known for devising the A-11 offense.
On February 27, 2020, it was announced that the radio home of the team would be KNBR AM 1050 out of San Mateo. KBCW broadcasts all home games on television. Dave Lewis is the play by play voice on the television broadcasts with Arena Football League Hall of Famer Darren Arbet on color commentary. Scott Reiss calls the games on radio.
- "Oakland Panthers Join IFL". GoIFL.com. September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- Carroll, Charlotte (September 10, 2019). "Marshawn Lynch to Be Co-Owner of Oakland Arena Football Team". SI.com.
- "OAKLAND PANTHERS TO RETURN IN 2021". Oakland Panthers. April 13, 2020.
- "OAKLAND PANTHERS TO GO DORMANT FOR THE 2021 SEASON". Oakland Panthers. September 18, 2020.
- Abraham, Zennie (April 17, 2019). "Oakland To Get Expansion Indoor Football League Team, Roy Choi Owner". Oakland News Now. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- "Ex-NFL star Williams behind new Freedom Football League". Reuters. December 6, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- "Oakland Panthers to Partner with KBCW as Official Television and KNBR 1050 as Official Radio Homes". www.oakland-panthers.com. Retrieved 2020-02-28.