AFL Will Relaunch this April
Chicago, Ill. (Thursday, February 18, 2010) – Arena Football One held a press conference yesterday and announced that it will relaunch this April as the Arena Football League (AFL). The league, which had already purchased the assets of the original AFL, has its sights set on expansion efforts in the immediate future and will kick off the 2010 season with 15 teams.
"We're back and we're not going anywhere," AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz said. "We are tremendously excited to bring back arena football to our ardent following of fans across the country. With a restructured business plan, we are poised to come back stronger than ever."
A few of the markets that the AFL announced intentions to place expansion teams include Denver, Pittsburgh, Southern California and Philadelphia, which was the last city to have its club win an Arena Bowl championship.
"We are so excited to be talking to the Philadelphia market, and we would love nothing more than for Jon Bon Jovi, Craig Spencer and Ron Jaworski to join our league," Kurz stated. "Our ownership has already extended an offer to them to join us. No one has done more for the brand of arena football than that collective group."
Bon Jovi and Spencer were co-owners of the Philadelphia Soul, while former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski served as its President. The Soul were among the tops in the AFL as far as attendance is concerned for each of its five seasons of play, and the league as a whole was averaging around 13,000 fans a game during its last season of play in 2008. Immediately following the Arena Bowl that year, the AFL claimed bankruptcy and closed up shop.
“The financial trouble the former league ran into was not due to a lack of fan interest and support," Kurz commented. "The demise of the former AFL was more a function of a severe recession and rising league and team operational costs. Once we had the opportunity to work as a cohesive group of owners in developing the plan to retool the business model, it was an easy decision for the league to relaunch."
The AFL made official yesterday that the league has signed a weekly television deal with the NFL Network, and the flagship station of the National Football League will air a weekly game every Friday night. The league has also pulled back in some former NFL greats that were associated with the original AFL, among them being NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka with the Chicago Rush.
“This was too good of an opportunity for me to pass up," Ditka remarked. "I have the utmost respect for the players. They are playing for the pure love of the game."
The 2010 AFL season will kick off on Friday, April 2nd, when the Spokane Shock hosts the Milwaukee Iron on the NFL Network.
For more information and the latest news on the AFL, visit www.arenafootball.com.