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The OSC Interview: American Indoor Football CEO John Morris

by Fran Stuchbury
August 18, 2015 - American Indoor Football (AIF)

OurSports Central contributor Fran Stuchbury spoke to American Indoor Football Chief Executive Officer John Morris at the Philadelphia Yellow Jackets press conference at McFadden's Saloon Ballpark last week. Morris is the founder of a Baltimore-based advertising agency, John Morris Enterprises, who received his start in indoor football in 2006, when he and business partner Michael Mink took over the troubled Montgomery Maulers franchise in the National Indoor Football League. Following that season, Mink and Morris established the American Indoor Football Association. The two split up the league following the 2010 campaign, and Morris merged several teams into the Southern Indoor Football League, while Mink eventually left to form another league. Morris re-launched the circuit as American Indoor Football for the 2012 season.

Fran Stuchbury: Do you feel the AIF is as strong as it has ever been going into next season?

John Morris: Absolutely, when you look at the additions we have brought in during the off-season. We have obviously been in the building process for a couple of years now. We look how we are situated and where our teams are located. Our footprint is tremendous. The last four owners we brought in were two attorneys, a car dealer and Joe Krause; it doesn't get any better than Joe Krause.

FS: What does the Philadelphia Yellow Jackets franchise bring to the AIF?

JM: Obviously it's a big market. It's exciting, and it also fits very well in our footprint. Where our teams are located... to keep our travel budget down is very important. Having a Philadelphia team here, they can play against the ASI Panthers (Reading), York Capitals and Buffalo Lightning. With keeping the travel and expenses down, that helps us overall.

FS: How many teams are you expecting to play in the AIF?

JM: We are slated to have twelve teams play in the AIF this season.

FS: How many games will the teams play? Is a ten game season a possibility?

JM: It will be an eight game schedule just like it was last season. We will have our owners meeting in September to determine how many teams we will have in the playoffs. We feel right now an eight game schedule is just the perfect budget for us. We are giving players an opportunity to be successful.

I don't care how much money you have, you see all these teams come and go. Sooner or later and for us, we have done this for a couple of years, you have to get a handle on the budget, otherwise you will have teams going out left and right. An eight game schedule is perfect; so far so good.

FS: What is the AIF going to put in place to make sure all the teams finish the season?

JM: The bottom line is if we do our due diligence. Some of the teams we announced including the Yellow Jackets will work for us. We have our meetings and get together with our owners and check every nook and cranny we can and then we make a sound decision, but you know what? Nobody can predict the future. If we can look six months down the road and see what is going to happen then we probably would have made better decision, but for the most part when you look at our league, the teams that we brought in this off season are very solid.

FS: Do you feel with the Arena Football League having two teams fold, the Las Vegas Outlaws and New Orleans VooDoo, that it hurts the efforts of the AIF or any other indoor football league?

JM: I think it is a plus for us because here is the bottom line: like I said before, I don't care how much money you have, you can only lose it for so long. No smart businessman is going to go out there and continue to lose money. A lot of guys don't mind bringing a minor league sports team to the community but you have to be somewhere around the black (making money). Most leagues hope, and wake up to the fact they have to look at the overall budget like any other business. Set aside that it is sports; look at it as a business and come up with a budget to make it work. Then they have a much better chance of having teams stick around. If you don't, the business is only going to continue losing money for so long.

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American Indoor Football CEO John Morris
American Indoor Football CEO John Morris


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