SBD/Issue 122/Leagues & Governing Bodies

AAFL Officially Cancels '08 Season; Still Hoping For '09

 
The All American Football League (AAFL) Thursday officially announced the postponement of its inaugural season until '09. The league's corporate partnerships with New Balance, Baden Sports and Rogers Athletic will remain intact, as will a national radio deal with Touchdown Radio & SportsDay Productions and an Internet broadcast partnership with Turner's PlayOn Sports. Fans who have purchased tickets for games in '08 will receive a full refund (AAFL).

FALSE START: AAFL CEO Marcus Katz: "Our sole source of capital was my sale of my interest in the student-loan company, Goal Financial, and when the bond market froze up it dried up all of the liquidity. ... I invested [$29M] in cash to roll out the operations of the league, but the student loan company owed me a lot more money. When I told the board I would subsidize the league, that was before the bond market collapsed" (MYFOXHOUSTON.com, 3/13). Team Tennessee President Larry Seivers: "I'd be real surprised if very many people were surprised by this. It has been coming for a few weeks. ... As we go forward, there has to be absolutely no doubt and no question about what's going on next time" (KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL, 3/14). Team Florida President Wayne McDaniel: "We hope there will be an opportunity for the league and the players to showcase themselves next year if we can get adequate financial backing. We still believe in the concept" (GAINESVILLE SUN, 3/14).

DELAY OF GAME: In Birmingham, Doug Segrest notes the AAFL this week reported that it had "finalized a national television deal with an unspecified network." But "while the AAFL said the deal was crucial, it was only one step in securing additional financing." AAFL BOD member Doug Dickey: "I'm personally disappointed that we couldn't pull it together. But I think we're a victim of the financial markets, which caused a significant change in the circumstances of cash flow in our league." Meanwhile, Segrest notes "just a few months ago, the AAFL was one of two new professional football leagues eyeing Birmingham," as the United Football League (UFL) is considering the city for one of its inaugural eight franchises when it kicks off in August. But, "like the AAFL, the UFL is expected to delay its first season by a calendar year" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 3/14).

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