Arena Football League
AmericanFootball current event.svg.png 2011 Arena Football League season
Founded 1987
Arena Football League
season DNP
previous season = 2008 next season = 2010

The Arena Football League (AFL) is an indoor American football league founded in 1987 by Jim Foster. It is played indoors on a smaller field than American football, resulting in a faster-paced and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in the early 1980s and patented by Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League and the National Football League.

The AFL would play 22 seasons from 1987 to 2008 before large debts forced the league to suspend operations in search of a more profitable business model. In December 2008 the league's owners canceled the 2009 season to begin work on developing a long-term plan to improve its economic model.[1]

Unable to agree upon a viable economic plan for the future of the league, the AFL suspended operations indefinitely on August 4, 2009, with Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation following in December of that year.[2] On September 28, 2009, Arena Football 1 was formed, containing many former AFL and af2 teams, as well as new franchises; AF1 purchased the AFL's assets (including its history and team names) in December 2009. On February 17, 2010, the AF1 announced it changed its name to the "Arena Football League", returning to the original league name. The league has its headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma and will play its games from April through August.

The league's championship game is known as the ArenaBowl.

Cancelling the 2009 seasonEdit

A conference call in December 2008 resulted in enough votes from owners and cooperation from the AFLPA to suspend the 2009 season in order to create "a long-term plan to improve its economic model".[3] In doing so, the AFL became the second sports league to cancel an entire season, after the National Hockey League cancelled the 2004-05 season due to a lockout. Efforts to reformat the league's business model were placed under the leadership of Columbus Destroyers owner Jim Renacci and interim commissioner Policy.[4]

High hopes for the AFL's waned when interim commissioner Ed Policy announced his resignation, citing the obsolescence of his position in the reformatted league.[5] Two weeks later, the Los Angeles Avengers announced that they were formally folding the franchise. One month later, the league missed the deadline to formally ratify the new CBA and announced that it was eliminating health insurance for the players.[6] Progress on the return stalled, and no announcements were made regarding the future of the league.

On July 20, 2009, Sports Business Journal reported that the AFL owed approximately $14 million to its creditors and were considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[7] In early August 2009, numerous media outlets began reporting that the AFL was folding permanently and would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The league released a statement on August 4 announcing that while the league is not folding, it is suspending league operations indefinitely. Despite this, several of the league's creditors filed papers to force a Chapter 7 liquidation if the league did not do so voluntarily.[8] This request was granted on August 7, though converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization on August 26.[9]


Following the suspension of the AFL's 2009 season, league officials and owners of af2 (which played their season) began discussing the future of arena football and the two leagues. With 50.1 percent ownership of af2, the AFL's bankruptcy and dissolution prompted the dissolution of af2.[10] That league was formally considered disbanded on September 8, 2009, when no owner committed his or her team to the league's eleventh season by that deadline.[11] For legal reasons, af2 league officials and owners agreed to form a new legal entity, Arena Football 1, with former AFL teams the Arizona Rattlers and Orlando Predators joining the former af2.[12][13]

All assets of the Arena Football League were put up for auction.[14] On November 11, 2009, the new league announced its intention to purchase the entire assets of the former AFL; the assets included the team names and logos of all but one of the former AFL and af2 teams.[15] The auction occurred on November 25, 2009.[14] The assets were awarded to Arena Football 1 on December 7, 2009, with a winning bid of $6.1 million.[16]

On February 17, 2010, AF1 announced it would use the "Arena Football League" name. The league announced plans for the upcoming season and details of its contract with NFL Network to broadcast AFL games in 2010.[17] AF1 teams were given the option of restoring historical names to their teams. In addition to the historical teams, the league added two new expansion franchises, the Dallas Vigilantes and the Jacksonville Sharks.

2011 expansionEdit

In a conference call in late February 2010, commissioner Jerry Kurz announced that at that time, four markets had been in serious negotiations for 2011 season expansion teams, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver and Southern California.

On June 18, 2010, the league announced that the Philadelphia Soul,[18][19] the San Jose SaberCats,[20] and the Kansas City Brigade would return to the Arena Football League for the 2011 season.

The Pittsburgh Power was announced as an expansion team for the 2011 season on August 20, 2010.[21]

The Alabama Vipers will relocate to Gwinnett County, Georgia, in suburban Atlanta, and take the name of the Georgia Force.[22][23]

On September 14, 2010, WWL Radio reported that the New Orleans Voodoo will be returning to the Arena Football League.[24] However, this time the team will not have Saints owner Tom Benson as part of the ownership group.

The new divisional alignment was announced on October 21, 2010, which included several teams moving divisions.[25] The Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz were not named in the new divisional alignment; on October 25, 2010 it was confirmed that the Yard Dawgz would not compete in the AFL in 2011.[26]

See alsoEdit


  1. "AFL suspends 2009 season". December 15, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-06.[dead link]
  2. "Arena Football League suspends operations indefinitely". Sports Illustrated. August 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-06.[dead link]
  3. "AFL suspends 2009 season". ArenaFan Online. December 15, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
  4. "AFL extends health insurance of Rampage, others". The Grand Rapids Press. March 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  5. "Acting head Policy steps aside at AFL". Sports Business Journal. April 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  6. "AFL axing players' health insurance; Rampage's Gowins 'less optimistic' about league's return". The Grand Rapids Press. May 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  7. "Chapter 11 a possibility as AFL tries to keep hopes alive for 2010 season". Sports Business Journal. July 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  8. Yerak, Becky (2009-08-11). Group trying to force Arena Football into bankruptcy. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  10. Latzke, Jeff (September 24, 2009). "New arena football league in the works". Monterey Herald. Retrieved September 29, 2009.[dead link]
  11. Johnson, Dan (September 9, 2009). "Barnstormers hope to land in top tier of redefined league". Des Moines Register. Retrieved September 29, 2009.[dead link]
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Arena Football League assets (even trophy) set to hit the auction block". USA Today. November 3, 2009.
  15. "Arena Football One Announces AFL Asset Bid".
  16. "Court approves sale of AFL assets to AF1". December 8, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  17. "Arena Football League Relaunches". Arena Football League. February 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  18. "Philadelphia Soul return to AFL". June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  19. "Ex-champion Philadelphia Soul returning to Arena Football League". USA Today. June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  20. "San Jose SaberCats are back in business". June 16, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  21. Shelly Anderson (August 20, 2010). "New arena football team called Pittsburgh Power". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  22. Bill Bryant (August 21, 2010). "It's official: Vipers have left the building". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  23. David Friedlander (August 20, 2010). "Is the Force with us again?". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  26. "Yard Dawgz will not play in AFL in 2011". October 25, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2010.[dead link]

External linksEdit

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