Former NFL MVP Kurt Warner got his start in the Arena Football League
At Least 16 Teams Reported to Play in New League
Tulsa, Okla. (Tuesday, September 29, 2009) – Officials confirmed at a press event yesterday that member teams of the defunct Arena Football League and its minor league affiliate arenafootball2 are currently forming a new league to be known as Arena Football 1. Reports are that at least 16 teams will join the new league when it launches in 2010, among them being two of the most successful franchises in AFL history in the Orlando Predators and Arizona Rattlers.
"There has been arena football before," said Jerry Kurz, a former af2 commissioner and likely commissioner of the new Arena Football 1. "It's been done well but not as good as it's going to be done this time."
Earlier this year, the original AFL officially canceled their 2009 season, blaming financial woes as the cause of its demise. The league had gone on a 22-year run and produced two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner while possessing such big name owners as Mike Ditka, John Elway, Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank and Jon Bon Jovi when the lights went out. During its last season of play, the AFL also had an impressive TV deal with ESPN that included a weekly telecast on Monday nights. The af2 was formed in 1999 as the official minor league for the AFL and operated essentially as its own entity. When the AFL shut down, the af2 continued to play the 50-yard “brawl between the walls” and completed this past season with 25 teams.
Kurz and officials insist that that the new Arena Football 1 will be that same brand of arena football but in no way associated with the original AFL.
“The (AFL) financial model was broken, and finally it broke the machine. It didn't work,” Kurz commented. “The AFL is not in existence, it's in bankruptcy. They will not play in 2010. That precipitated the necessity to go to the drawing board and come up with a financially viable model that works to play arena football."
In addition to Orlando and Phoenix, expected markets into the new Arena Football 1 include Chicago, Salt Lake City, Bossier-Shreveport, Little Rock, Fresno, Des Moines, Jacksonville, Lexington, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Spokane, Huntsville, Kennewick and Tulsa. Former AFL markets Tampa Bay and San Jose are reportedly considering the move to Arena Football 1 and, according to Kurz, consideration for inclusion into the league will run until October 9th.
"We'll grow as it fits us in a smooth economic model," he remarked. "Other leagues in many different sports have just grown to grow, and we don't want to do that. We want to make sure we go into markets that want us."
It is believed that Arena Football 1 plans to play a 16-week schedule that would run from March/April until the end of summer, which is the same slate that its predecessor used to engage. New information regarding the league is expected to be made following the October 9th deadline.