Vipers In Revitalized Arena Football League
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - After a one-year hiatus, the Arena Football League is back and the Alabama Vipers will be among with the same 15 teams competing in the entity formerly known as Arena Football One.
AFL executives unveiled the revitalized league in a media teleconference today in Chicago. The league announced plans for the upcoming season and advanced progress toward expanding into the Philadelphia, Southern California, Denver and Pittsburgh markets.
"We're excited to be moving up to big-time football in the new AFL," Vipers managing partner Ron Evans said. "For the Vipers to be competing against the 'big-boys' of arena football is a tremendous opportunity for our coaches, players and fans. 2010 is a great year to be an Alabama Vipers fan."
The AFL's legacy teams are the Arizona (Phoenix) Rattlers, Cleveland Gladiators, Chicago Rush, Dallas Vigilantes (formerly the Desperados), Orlando Predators, Tampa Bay Storm and Utah (Salt Lake City) Blaze. The new cities and teams with an opportunity to compete for an ArenaBowl championship along with Alabama are the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings, Iowa Barnstormers, Jacksonville Sharks, Milwaukee Iron, Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, Spokane Shock and Tulsa Talons.
The Vipers will open their 16-game regular season April 3 at Bossier-Shreveport and then host the Jacksonville Sharks April 9 at the Von Braun Center. The Arena Bowl will take place the third weekend in August.
"Having coached in the original Arena Football League, this an exciting time for the Vipers organization, Huntsville and the state of Alabama to be a part of the rebirth of the AFL,'' Alabama coach Dean Cokinos said. "The AFL brand has earned a tremendous amount of respect worldwide and it is an honor to have an opportunity to maintain the tradition and the legacy that has been established over the last two decades in the AFL."
The AFL now owns all of the assets of the former AFL, including the team names and trademarks as well as intellectual property, video archives, statistical information and the championship game moniker-the Arena Bowl. The current owners of the 15 teams acquired the former league's assets in a $6.1 million bankruptcy settlement.
"We're back and we're not going anywhere," Commissioner Jerry Kurz said. "We are tremendously excited to bring back Arena Football to our ardent following of fans across the country. With a restructured business plan, we are poised to come back stronger than ever."
In 2008, AFL games were played before an average crowd of almost 13,000 in record year for revenue.
"The financial trouble the former league ran into was not due to a lack of fan interest and support," Kurz said. "The demise of the former AFL was more a function of a severe recession and rising league and team operational costs. Once we had the opportunity to work as a cohesive group of owners in developing the plan to retool the business model, it was an easy decision for the league to re-launch."
Kurz stressed the AFL will continue to be the most fan friendly, affordable and accessible professional sports league as players; coaches will continue to sign autographs after every game and play an integral in each of the 15 communities where teams are headquartered. The game will also remain affordable to fans; in some cities, season tickets are priced as low as $50.
Owners include former head coach and NFL Legend Mike Ditka, a returning Chicago Rush co-owner. "This was too good of an opportunity for me to pass up," Ditka said. "I have the utmost respect for the players. They are playing for the pure love of the game."
Former NFL quarterback Danny White will serve as the team president of the Arizona Rattlers. "I've always had a passion for arena football," White said. "I love the game, the product and the players who play it."
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Arena Football League Stories from February 17, 2010
- Arena Football League Re-Launches - Dallas Vigilantes
- Sharks To Be Featured On NFL Network - Jacksonville Sharks
- Blaze Announce Local TV Agreement - Utah Blaze
- Vipers In Revitalized Arena Football League - Alabama Vipers
- Cleveland Gladiators to air live on NFL Network in Week 2 - Cleveland Gladiators
- 'Stormers To Kickoff 2010 Season On NFL Network - Iowa Barnstormers
- Arena Football League Re-Launches - Milwaukee Mustangs
- AFL Back and Better Than Ever - AFL
- Rush Featured Prominently On AFL's New NFL Network TV Deal - Chicago Rush