Why do we care that a 22 year old indoor American Football league has
suspended its 2009 season? Well a) because Jon Bon Jovi was a co-owner
of the Philedelphia Soul, but also because its the most worrying sign
of a sports economy apocalypse that we’ve seen so far.
The AFL was an offense only version of the game played on a 50 yard
piece of astroturf, but it was cheap to run (players made about $50k)
and cheap to attend (about $20 a ticket). It pulled ok crowds and had
good TV exposure in the US via its part ownership by ESPN. I would
probably catch about 5 games a year. It was the sports equivalent of a
very greasy breakfast – you know its the worst food of its kind, but
hey, its hot and cheap. But when the New Orleans VooDoo went bust, you
knew something was amiss with the concept.
Over the years a number of AFL players went on to play in the NFL, the
most well-known being Kurt Warner, two time NFL MVP and Superbowl
winner, who always thanked the AFL for sharpening his pass timing. So
with no AFL next year, the job openings for bible-bashing pussy-
whipped QB’s decline dramatically. The league may be back in 2010,
but this isn’t pro hockey. By then something else will have vacuumed
up those fans and those dollars.
With the legendary Petty team closing in NASCAR, golf tournament
sponsors going bust, and layoffs everywhere except the Yankees, ’09
looks to be the year the US sports Juggernaut finally starts to slow.
Who knows, they may have to start ripping out luxury boxes and putting
They also had excellent cheerleaders:
– Mark Tierney