Officials from what will be known as Arena Football 1 said Monday that they will have at least 16 teams ready to play in 2010, including four in former Arena Football League markets: Salt Lake City, Chicago, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla. The Arizona Rattlers and Orlando Predators played in the old AFL, but the new league's Chicago and Salt Lake City teams did not.Now this sounds like a much better idea than the UFL! And while arena football may not be up there with the NFL and other major professional sports, it nonetheless did develop a strong following in it's over 20 years of existence. And while we are learning more and more about how failed the old system was behind the scenes, to make this new league succeed, they don't need to re-invent the wheel, just a new way of getting it to go and that appears to be scenario.
The league will also have teams from the AFL offshoot arenafootball2, as well as at least one team from another indoor league. It will be based in Tulsa. Commissioner Jerry Kurz said it would be a "brand-new league" not connected with the AFL or af2.
"There has been arena football before," said Kurz, a former af2 commissioner. "It's been done well but not as good as it's going to be done this time."
Kurz said more details of the league's business structure -- including what the players might be paid -- will be announced during the coming weeks. He said the league would use a schedule similar to that used by the AFL and af2, with games starting in late March or early April and running through the summer.
Dan Newman, the owner of the Bossier-Shreveport (La.) BattleWings -- who are moving from the af2 to the new league- said Arena Football 1 will use a rule book identical to those used by the AFL and af2.
"This is arena football," Newman said.
Arena Football 1 said its markets also will include Little Rock, Ark.; Fresno, Calif.; Des Moines, Iowa; Jacksonville, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Milwaukee; Oklahoma City; Spokane, Wash.; Huntsville, Ala.; Kennewick, Wash.; and Tulsa.
The new league said eight more teams have submitted membership applications. Newman said the league is negotiating with seven other former AFL franchises, including those in Tampa and San Jose.
Hank Stern, vice president of the San Jose SaberCats, said Monday that while that team was "looking to bring arena football back to San Jose," he wouldn't comment about the new league "until things become clearer."
Kurz said other franchises will be considered for inclusion in the league through Oct. 9.
"We'll grow as it fits us in a smooth economic model," he said. "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."
I must say, though, I am quite depressed that my Bon Jovi-Ron Jaworski ran Philadelphia Soul won't be back. Oh well, welcome to the world, Arena Football League 1!