The AFL wants you to know it still exists

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With all the recent talk about the brand-new AAF and the coming-back-next-year XFL, an alternative football league that has been around for more than 30 years and that helped develop a Hall of Fame quarterback would like you to know it still exists.

It’s the Arena Football League.

The indoor league shrunk to a handful of franchises in 2018, but Albany Empire owner Dan Nolan believes that it could grow from a current roster of six franchises to 20 or 25 in the coming years, according to Mike DeSocio of the Albany Business Review.

The Empire claims that it averaged 9.714 fans last year, leading the league in attendance.

“What you really hope for in a league like this is after a couple years you can break even,” Nolan said. “And if you have the kind of attendance that we have, I think eventually you can probably be profitable.”

From four teams last year to six in 2019, the league plans to add four teams next year. Still, the league has been anything but stable over its life cycle, with expansion and contraction and Kurt Warner playing quarterback for the Iowa Barnstormers and a full-fledged bankruptcy and an aggressive effort to return to prominence (including a team owned by the frontmen of KISS) and a recent back slide to a quartet of teams.

The Arena League, which plays its games on 50-yard fields with nets around the goalposts at each of the field, begins its new season in April, with teams in Albany, Washington, Baltimore, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and Columbus playing three total games per week for 13 weeks.

19 responses to “The AFL wants you to know it still exists

  1. I realize that “AFL” is an abbreviation for the Arena Football League but it seems a bit sacrilegious to me. Personally, the only league in my mind that can really be known as the AFL was the American Football League – which was good enough to be the last league which forced the NFL to do a merger and set up the AFC.

  2. The Arena Football League needs to remind itself it still exists. The Indoor Football League is the premier indoor league for what it’s worth. Even notable franchises like Iowa Barnstormers and Arizona Rattlers have jumped from AFL to IFL.

  3. Here in my home town of Des Moines, the Iowa Barnstormers (where Kurt Warner was discovered) now play in the IFL (Indoor Football League). They previously played in the AFL. The IFL now has 10 teams, the AFL has 6. It would seem wise to merge the two leagues and have 16 teams with 4 divisions or at least 2 conferences. I would anticiptate the AAF and XFL will look to make a similar move, since both leagues have 8 teams also. To me it makes a lot more sense to have less leagues and more teams to compete with, especially if attendance and popularity are an issue. I’m sure it comes down to ownership and investors, but that’s my two cents if they want to generate more interest. It’s not as impressive or interesting to be champions over 5 other teams.

    I actually really enjoy attending IFL games. I would attend AAF games if there were a team near my home.

  4. Went to an arena football game last year and it was fun for about a half. Loads of action, players going all out. Inexpensive enough for families to bring their kids and it was clear a lot of them were regulars and big fans. The attendance was high and so was the enthusiasm level. The home team kept the excitement level up by running out on the field with with all kinds of things on timeouts; t-shirt guns, mini contests, etc. It was a little too exciting for old geezers like me, with the way they cranked up the music so loud you couldn’t talk to your friends or even think. We had enough fun at the half and left, but it’s a good spectator sport for a lot of people.

  5. We have a NAL indoor team in our facility. I’m sorry, it’s BORING. Their marketing team has loaded the place with non-football balderdash. That’s more interesting than the games. 55-48 games are just unwatchable.

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