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DeBartolo Folds MISL Team in Pittsburgh

United Press International

The Pittsburgh Spirit of the Major Indoor Soccer League ceased operations Friday, owner Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. announced.

DeBartolo, who has run the team since 1981, made the announcement at a news conference at the Civic Arena.

DeBartolo, who also owns the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, said he has lost about $9 million running the Spirit in the last five years, including $2.4 million for the regular season that ended last week. A loss of $2.6 million was projected for next season, he said.

“It is with great regret that I make this announcement,” DeBartolo said. “Indoor soccer may very well have a future in Pittsburgh, but not on the near horizon from what we can objectively assess.”

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The Spirit finished the season with a 23-25 record and missed the MISL playoffs for the second straight year. The team averaged fewer than 8,000 fans in 24 home games.


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