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The AAF is on Life Support

The AAF is on Life Support
Birmingham Iron defenders stop the Memphis Express in its tracks on the way to a 26-0 shutout. Photo: Birmingham Iron

By Evan Weiner |

There are three weeks left in the inaugural Alliance of American Football’s season. There seemed to be a major question about the league’s viability about a month ago and now it appears the league might not make it through April’s playoffs and title game. The championship game has been moved to Frisco, Texas, from Las Vegas and will be played in a 12,000 seat stadium that is controlled by the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Initially the AAF’s title game was slated for Las Vegas. But that game may never take place. The league seems to be on life support.

The AAF is struggling to fill seats. San Antonio, a city in search of a National Football League team, has been supportive of the new spring league averaging a bit more than 29,000 people in attendance for each game played in the city. Orlando and San Diego have had average crowds of more than 19,000 per opening. But five other cities are not doing well. Birmingham and Memphis are around 13,000 a game. Atlanta is drawing less than 11,000 per game. The Tempe-based Arizona team and Salt Lake City have averaged slightly less than 10,000 people per game.

It appears CBS is happy with the number of eyeballs that are watching the AAF on CBS’s platforms and Turner Sports added a couple of AAF games to the schedule. New football leagues have not really worked in the past. Three versions of the American Football League died before Lamar Hunt’s AFL worked in the 1960s. The All American Football Conference last four years from 1946 through 1949. The World Football League folded after two years, the USFL lasted three years. The United Football League had a four year run. The XFL was around in 2001 and is being rebooted in 2020. It’s a tough business.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.


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