As they head toward the team's locker room, located in the college's P.E. center, Stanley and Simmons gush over the team's performance. Simmons continues spouting superlatives about the defensive linemen's agility, while Stanley is impressed with the zip and accuracy of quarterback J.J. Raterink's passes.

"People who aren't familiar with football should be able to go to see the LA KISS and have the time of their life," Gene Simmons says. "Even if they don't know the specifics of what the rules are, the experience should still kick your ass."

"Even when the games aren't on, [when] practice isn't happening, the amount [the players] need to do to keep up with their athleticism is back-breaking stuff," Simmons says as he shakes his head. He removes his sunglasses and wipes his forehead. "I'm out of wind just watching them, and we're"—he points at Stanley and himself—"in pretty good shape!"

Unlike other professional sports leagues, in which owners treat newcomers with caution and distrust, afraid that any new ownership will attempt to uproot a league's existing order, the AFL welcomed the LA KISS with open arms. "We've been embraced immediately," Simmons says, referring to the league's owners and front office. "We understand that part of it is about celebrity, and that's fine. But just being famous doesn't mean anything because some people are turned off to it. We're very lucky our reputation precedes itself and we handle everything professionally."

Stanley praises the team's fellow owners, saying they understand what the LA KISS brings to the sport and how the franchise is an asset to the league. So far, he has been right. Since the team began operations in August, the AFL's profile has increased. It has secured an additional national television contract with ESPN on top of its existing deal with CBS Sports Network, inked before the 2013 season. It's coming back from the ashes of 2008, a year that saw the season canceled, two teams fold (including the Los Angeles Avengers, which was averaging more than 12,000 people per game at Staples Center), two commissioners resign, its collective bargaining agreement with players expire, and almost $14 million in debt.

Simmons and Stanley are well aware of the AFL's checkered past. Saying the league has learned from its mistakes, Simmons vows it is focused on doing "only AFL things" and becoming an entity that's an alternative to the game that dominates America's fall calendar. The AFL's popularity is predicated on its video-game-type scores, with teams racking up numbers in the 40s, 50s and even 60s. "You can't get those scores in NFL football," Stanley laments. "And we want to give them more."

LA KISS games will come with all the spectacle of a KISS concert, Simmons says. Instead of the traditional running onto the field out of a tunnel, the team might be lowered onto the field from the ceiling using a device KISS had created for their live show but never used.

"We're looking to have a Cirque du Soleil type of halftime show, in which we're lowering people on cables from the roof, which is as nontraditional as any halftime experience in professional sports," Stanley says. "If you don't have people rappelling down from the ceiling during halftime, I'll do it."

Will Simmons and Stanley join in the theatrics? Simmons shakes his head quickly, giving the "No thanks" signal with his arms.

"Oh, c'mon, Gene," Stanley interjects. "You know if there's a spotlight on you, you'd definitely do it!"

"Well, that's different," Simmons says wryly as his tone of voice changes. "If there's a spotlight? Then absolutely."

Brennan says the players are aware of the owners' ambitions and will do what it takes on the field to ensure a winning atmosphere. "Man, thinking about what they're going to do to the Honda Center on game [nights] with musical acts, it sounds like a really fun thing," he gushes. "This will be an environment not only where we'd have a great time playing the game, but seeing live music after a game, who wouldn't want to go? It's going to be really fun."

This isn't the legendary band's first foray into sports entertainment. In the late 1990s, KISS sponsored a WCW wrestler based on Simmons' Demon stage persona. While the Demon ultimately wasn't a wrestling success, it piqued the interest of a younger audience who may not have heard of KISS outside of the stories their parents may have shared about rock music. "People who aren't familiar with football should be able to go to see the LA KISS and have the time of their life," Simmons says. "Even if they don't know the specifics of what the rules are, the experience should still kick your ass. We want it to be about the team, but also the spectacle of it."

"To put the KISS name and logo on something, we have to be very, very comfortable that it will reflect well upon us," Stanley adds. "We don't put our name on something and say good luck. Make no mistake: This is football and not rock & roll, and we want to bring something to the sport that it may be missing."

Season-ticket prices start as low as $99 each, which includes nine regular-season games, plus one playoff game. So far, according to Bouchy, the signs have been encouraging. "We've surpassed 5,000 season tickets, and the trends are only looking up," he says. "The biggest problem we've encountered is hiring enough ticket salespeople to keep up with the demand."

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13 comments
huntka33
huntka33

Kiss  proves that being ugly and wearing your Mothers clothes and make up have "nothing" to do with success.

huntka33
huntka33

Tebow will regret not taking You up on Your more than generous offer.

carmskiss
carmskiss

Gene & Paul forget about performing in Mexico on March 15th....stay safe in the USA and show up and support your team, LA KISS during their First ever Game!! See you in San Antonio!!

samanthadevenport
samanthadevenport

I love KISS and I love Gene Simmons. It has always amused me at how people's comments on various sites suddenly turn to abusive name calling and racism, whenever he says or does anything at all. 

Good on you, Gene - for making it big and continuing to make even more money to add to your already overflowing coffers. You know what it's like to be poor and had the balls to live your dream and make it a reality in a world full of judgmental tossers, who would only be doing the same in your shoes - if only they had the chance ...and guts.

dbo90275
dbo90275

Has anyone seen the pics of Gene without his wig?  He has a serious chrome dome. 

Fred Stoces
Fred Stoces

So they brought th "LA" kiss to Anaheim.. in Orange County? What is LA not big enough haha goddamn money grubbers, they stole the anaheim angels too!

serbialaw1
serbialaw1

I think it is a good fit. Say what you will about KISS's music, but they know how to market a product. Which is something Arena Ball sorely needs.

Lon Hall
Lon Hall

and I thought I was ugly!

crazyladyxoxo
crazyladyxoxo

I was wandering if the small town fan's are just as important to him as the big city fan


mannybanny
mannybanny

@huntka33  

maybe your Mom wore codpiece, spandex and chestless shirts - not mine...

;-)

Scott
Scott

You care because you read the article... and then commented.  If you didn't care one way or the other, you would have left it alone.  That's how it works.

jendall_714
jendall_714

@crazyladyxoxo Not sure if you know this but KISS once played in a High School auditorium because they heard about this Football Team who used to get fired up listening to KISS music before a game! This was in Cadillac Michigan.

 
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