Arena Football League back from brink!


Arena Football League re-launch in 2024 Image: OfficialAFL (Twitter)

It’s been quite some time since the Arena Football League (US) has been active, and since then, multiple upstart football leagues have been launched to provide alternatives to the National Football League (NFL).

‘Bleacher Report’ stated that now, the Arena Football League is jumping back into the fray, as it announced recently that it plans to relaunch in 2024 after a four-plus-year hiatus.

Phoenix, Arizona (US)-based the Arena Football League (AFL) can refer to one of the three successive professional indoor American football leagues in the United States. The first of these was founded in 1986, and played its first official games in the 1987 season, running for 22 consecutive seasons until going bankrupt following the 2008 season. The second league, consisting largely of teams from the first AFL and arenafootball2 (a minor league majority-owned by the first AFL), purchased the first league’s assets out of bankruptcy and resumed play in 2010 as a continuation of the first AFL. This second AFL ran for 10 further seasons, before again going bankrupt following the 2019 season. A third AFL, which is not directly connected to previous iterations of the league but claiming its history, intends to launch in 2024.

New York (US)-based the National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

‘Bleacher Report’ further stated that the AFL will resume operations under the private sports investment group F1 Sports and Entertainment, which bought the rights to the league in January 2022. The professional indoor league’s new Commissioner, Lee A. Hutton III, will be the first Black Commissioner of a professional sports league in the United States.

Hutton is an attorney who “has represented both Fortune 500 companies as well as athletes, celebrities and artistes in contract negotiations” and “worked on high-profile cases, ranging from NFL concussion litigation to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) legal cases,” according to an AFL representative.

Indianapolis, Indiana (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico (Caribbean island and unincorporated US territory).

Also known as NIL and used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) refers to the unique characteristics of a student-athlete. This covers not only the three main components of the phrase, but also the nickname, signature, individual symbol, design, social media account, or other things that would fall under the NIL umbrella.

Hutton said in a statement, “The Arena Football League brand has always sat at the promontory of indoor football by offering gridiron entertainment, fast action and iron tough athletes in conjunction with delivering a family fun fan experience that uniquely engages the pig skin (the ball used to play American football) enthusiast. Ultimately, the professional sports brand speaks for itself and is proud to announce, ‘We are back!’”

The AFL, which filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2019, will field 16 teams that will play 10 regular-season games before the playoffs.

The AFL joins the United States Football League (USFL), the Xtreme Football League (XFL) and Fan Controlled Football as leagues that launched or relaunched in recent years to satiate football fans even after the NFL season ends.

Birmingham, Alabama (US)-based the United States Football League (USFL) is a professional American football minor league that began play on April 16th, 2022. The inaugural 2022 regular season was played in its entirety in Birmingham, Alabama. The postseason games were played in Canton, Ohio (US), at the 23,000-capacity Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Xtreme Football League (XFL) is a professional American football minor league consisting of eight teams located across the United States in mid-sized to major markets served by at least one other major professional sports team. Seasons run from February to May, with each team playing a 10-game regular season and four progressing to the playoffs to crown a season champion. The league is headquartered in Arlington, Texas, US.

The Fan Controlled Football is a professional 7-on-7 indoor football league created in 2017 as the first sports league controlled by fans. All games are played at the Pullman Yards (a former industrial complex in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta) in Atlanta, Georgia, and broadcast on Twitch, NBCLX, DAZN, FuboTV, and Peacock.

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