Berglund Center is pleased to announce the return of indoor arena football and welcomes the Virginia Iron Horses to Roanoke in the spring of 2019. The National Gridiron League (NGL) will debut a new spring indoor football league in twelve U.S. cities in March, 2019. Roanoke’s team, the Virginia Iron Horses, will play its first home game in the spring of 2019.

The NGL was founded in 2017 as a minor league alternative to the National Football League to become a respectable destination for recent college football graduates. Based in the Southeast, the League will draw many of its players from college football’s major conferences. The NGL launched in the hopes of providing an exceptional quality product on the field and to have a positive community impact off the field.

“Citizens of the Roanoke Valley have a great love of sports in all forms,” stated Mayor Sherman Lea, “and we are pleased to expand our choices and welcome the National Gridiron League to our community. We encourage fans of the game and citizens to support our newest professional team, the Virginia Iron Horses.”

The last arena football team in this area was the Roanoke Steam, which played at Berglund Center (then Roanoke Civic Center) for three years and folded in May, 2002. Its departure left a void for the 1,200 (average) fans who supported the team. 

“Fans of arena football will be excited and entertained by the level of talent the NGL will bring to Roanoke,” said Berglund Center’s General Manager, Robyn Schon. “We believe the Virginia Iron Horses will deliver an impressive and respectable product that will be fun for families and fans alike. We look forward to a great season of indoor arena football!”

NGL Commissioner, Joe McClendon, offers his reasoning for choosing to bring his league to the Star City. “Roanoke and Southwest Virginia are special places, further made special by the people. Everything about the city fits the brand of the National Gridiron League – we’re young, we’re diverse, we’re on the rise, and we aren’t afraid of hard work. We believe these characteristics are a reflection of the people of Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge. In addition, the region has demonstrated an unmatched passion for college football for over twenty years. That passion and pride deserve a professional football team to call their own. We are proud to join the City of Roanoke and Berglund Center to bring professional football to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.”

President of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Landon Howard adds, “Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) has long recognized sports tourism as one of the hottest tickets in our region establishing VBR Sports earlier this year.  We welcome the NGL expansion team to Berglund Center as the newest sporting event to attract visitors to the area.”

Season tickets for the Virginia Iron Horses go on sale this fall. For more information on the Virginia Iron Horses and League, visit