Change that. It looks like the Arena Football League will cancel the upcoming season.
“Every owner in the AFL is strongly committed to the league, the game, and, most importantly, the fans,” acting commissioner Ed Policy said in a statement. “Owners, however, recognize that, especially in light of the current unprecedented economic climate, the AFL, as a business enterprise, needs to be restructured if it is to continue to provide its unique brand of this affordable, fan-friendly sport.”
Last week’s statement came after a meeting of the league’s board of directors and did not say the AFL definitely would play next year.
The AFL’s woes come at a time when the world of sports, once thought to be largely recession-proof, has felt the economic chill. The NFL has said it would cut 150 jobs, while the NBA and NASCAR also have laid off dozens of workers. The NHL is in a hiring freeze while the Internet operation for Major League Baseball also has trimmed positions.
From the Kansas City Star:
Speculation about the 22-year old league’s future only intensified in recent weeks, when it became apparent that a $100 million deal the cash-strapped league struck in October with Platinum Equity, LLC, was in limbo. The deal, which was supposed to be completed in November, would have given the AFL the infusion of capital it badly needed and allowed Platinum to operate the league as a single entity.
But with the deal in a state of flux, it is believed that several owners wanted to suspend the 2009 season to find another investor or explore other financial options.
The New Orleans VooDoo folded in October. The VooDoo ceased operations for awhile after Katrina hit. Now they’ve folded. What will happen to the league?