Is This The First and Last Season For The Alliance of America Football League?

Published on April 2, 2019

It appears that the Alliance American Football (AAF) is destined for failure, like their predecessors. The excitement of year-round football is doomed to be crushed by the NFL’s popularity and lack of foresight.

Before the official kickoff of the AAF, co-founder Charlie Ebersol ,identified three major mistakes that previous leagues had made that led to their failure:

#1—The NFL is a Partner, Not Competitor

The strongest asset the AAF has going for it is that the league is positioned as a farm league for the NFL and therefore will closely work together. Featuring players who previously played in the NFL, this is a possible road back into the league.

The league has even established a ‘NFL-out’ in the contracts of the players which allows them to leave the league and play in the NFL.

#2—Battling Oversaturated Markets

Not wanting to take on the NFL, they also didn’t want to start an “attention-battle” in already over-saturated markets.

The league is currently made up of eight teams with the cities chosen for reasons—weather, potential interest, recruiting, and more. Weather being a main contributor due to the time of year the league plays. All the teams in the first year are in the south for that reason, there also are major recruiting states—Florida, Texas, California, Alabama, and Tennessee.

#3—Reinventing the Wheel

Ebersol has the mentality of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, while other leagues have tried to change the game or amplify it.  Ebersol stated “[…] it’s not as if they’re saying, ‘I want some new, crazy, weird version of football.’ They want to see football.”

(Photo by Denis Poroy/AAF/Getty Images)
What’s the Problem?

Although during the NFL off-season, the AAF still doesn’t have as strong of a ground to stand on when it comes to popularity.

But why? Since childhood, many fans have tuned into NFL each week out of habit and/or of undying loyalty. Plus, fans get to watch athletes who may be at the pinnacle of their careers, continue to grow and excel in the game.

Trying to start a new tradition with players that are considered just ‘not good enough for the NFL’ puts a damper on the league.

Arguably, this one of the most popular times in sports to have viewers watching a new football league, as we’ve all seen them come and go. However, they’re still fighting viewership ratings against MLB Opening Day, March Madness, NFL Draft, NHL Playoffs, NBA Playoffs, and even the MLS starting back up.

Paying to Be Seen?

On February 9th, the AAF yieled better television ratings than was originally expected. Yet, just a week later, it was reported that the league was already out of money, which is a too familiar scenario with non-NFL professional football teams.

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/AAF/Getty Images)

An investment coming from Carolina Hurricanes CEO, Tom Dundon helped to keep the league going, thanks to his $250 million infusion that kept the game checks coming into Week 2, despite still being late.

How Can the AAF Measure ‘Success?’

Luckily for the AAF, they’ve successfully managed to actually work together with the NFL, unlike most other secondary leagues whom have attempted to rival them.

But, to truly succeed, the key will be to continue convincing fans to buy into this league, increasing the attendance as well to involve a wider audience which will help financially with advertising dollars. This is heavily dependent upon the large support for the teams, otherwise they’ll join the list of their predecessors.

At the end of the day, the AAF owns the teams and pays the employees. Therefore, if the AAF goes down, the infrastructure of the league will collapse instead of just a single club.

Taylor Lee is a former Sports Editor at Grit Daily. With over ten years of experience in the business realm including an MBA from Grand Canyon University, Taylor focuses his writing in the fields of sports, music, and business. His other interest include being outdoors, cigars, and fine bourbons.

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