New Arena league reclaims old name, seeks more teams
Arena Football 1 has a new name with an old logo and, despite not playing a game yet, is looking toward adding more teams.
The recently formed AF1 will now use the brand of the defunct Arena Football League, which closed its doors in 2009 after beginning in 1987. The brand was part of the assets purchased for $6.1 million by AF1 from the bankrupt AFL.
"The time was right to re-brand ourselves," AFL commissioner Jerry Kurz said Wednesday during a conference call, adding that old ownership "neglected to do a good enough job of promoting our stars and stories."
In addition, with a new TV deal recently signed with the NFL Network, the AFL's games will begin showing in primetime starting April 2. The first Blaze game is scheduled for April 9 in the E-Center.
The new AFL is comprised of former AF2 teams and a handful of former indoor league franchises. The league is also looking to expand into Philadelphia, Denver, Pittsburgh and Southern California.
Arizona Rattlers president and former Blaze coach Danny White said 2009 could be the most important year in arena football. The new league has single-entity ownership, which means the league owns the teams, much in the same way Major League Soccer began.
"This is an opportunity for the owners to make a profit," he said. "The sky's the limit for arena football."
Home games of the Utah Blaze, which was recently re-formed under the AF1 moniker, will be broadcast on Salt Lake City channel CW30, in partnership with ABC4.