17 December 2008

Can you hear ants screaming?

Yesterday, the Arena Football League announced that they've canceled their 2009 season with hopes of having a better economic turnaround to come back in 2010.

So?? Football on a hockey rink, where the scores goes into the 70's. How can any true football fan care about this horrible bastardization of America's Game.

People screamed like hell when Vince McMahon started up the XFL, but at least it was played on a real football field. In fact, many things Vince tried are now common place for CBS/NBC/ESPN/FOX for football and other sports (the almost in-action cameras, the yellow line for first downs and the escalation of individual players on teams as celebrities over the team). But it was Vince freakin' McMahon and he did a lot of things wrong and rubbed people the wrong way.

The AFL would not be the AFL if it didn't have a major tv contract and the backing of the NFL and several alumni. The only people I know who go to these games are people who get FREE tickets (including me, once) and people dumb enough to buy season tickets (sorry Sami, my friend). To be honest, I'm amazed that the sport has been around for over 25 years. But since it has, isn't it amazing that most people don't even know it exists? In fact, if not for Mike Ditka, John Elway and Jon Bon Jovi only RECENTLY buying in to existing franchises, it would have even LESS awareness.

So at the annoucement that they've shut the doors for 2009, I view it as the old "if a tree falls...". It would be the same reaction if the Lacrosse league or the WNBA or an A-League soccer league were to close. It's the same reaction I had to when the WFL, USFL, and NFL Europe shut down. They are there mostly to serve the minor markets in America, people who just won't trek 200 miles each way to see a professional team. I'm not saying that minor league sports don't have a place in society but let's not make them out to be gigantic market-makers and revenue-drivers.

I'm sure it'll be back in 2010 because the NFL needs to spend the money and without NFL Europe, well, they have to find a way to dump profits. But let's not herald the return as some massive arising from the dead or Phoenix from the ashes. It's a marketing tool for a major corporation and that's really it.

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