Less than two months after the Arena Football League concluded its 29th season, the league appears to be in disarray, with five teams either folding or jumping ship to rival indoor football leagues.
The L.A. KISS have ceased operations without any announcement and without even informing its players, according to multiple reports. The Orlando Predators and Portland Steel also folded this offseason. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Sharks and Arizona Rattlers are leaving to join the Indoor Football League.
That leaves the Arena League — the third-oldest pro football league, behind only the NFL and Canadian Football League — with only four teams. The Arena League is now scrambling to solidify its status as a viable product going forward.
“The Arena Football League is focused on solidifying its foundation for the long term and is in active conversations with strong, experienced ownership groups in markets where there is already a pro sports signature in place,” the league said in a statement. “The addition of the Washington Valor this coming season provides a solid example of where we are headed. Ultimately, we continue to be focused on positioning and growing the league over the long term to deliver the great game, compelling broadcasts and arena experience our fans have come to expect.”
In order to deliver a great game, the Arena League needs teams to play those games. And those teams are vanishing quickly.