The Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators officially announced Wednesday that they would no longer be playing in the Arena Football League (AFL) in 2017.
The Predators appear to have completely folded their franchise for good, however Jacksonville put out a press release with that includes some interesting information.
“It became quite obvious over the last couple of years we were going to eventually move to a rival league, stated Sharks Operating Manager Jeff Bouchy. Constantly growing League expenses and the lack of League revenue led to crippling operational costs of AFL teams. Now was the right time to move the Sharks into an exciting new League that will become the premier league in arena/indoor football. Other teams from the AFL are expected to join us in this new chapter in Sharks’ history.”
The part to look at is that last sentence – as the Sharks say that other teams from the AFL will be joining the same league that Jacksonville will.
The teams that have been rumored to be leaving the league are both Jacksonville and Orlando, and also Arizona and Portland. If these rumors were to hold true it would leave the Arena Football League with just five teams.
The Arena Football League Might Have met its End
With the low amount of teams the league is able to maintain, it seems like the fall of the league is imminent at this point. Owners were getting tired of shelling out more and more money each year due to the number of teams declining, and that’s exactly why all these teams are folding.
Even if you count the teams that were not rumored to leave, the AFL has been trimmed down to seven franchises, which can’t be appealing whatsoever for the casual fan.
Why the IFL will take over
This leaves the question of what league these teams will be playing in in 2017. Assuming it holds true that “Other teams” – with an ‘S’ – will join Jacksonville, that will give the new league at least three additional franchises.
One contender that would not work is Champions Indoor Football (CIF). Although they are already expanding, although they have concluded league meetings and finished their schedule for the 2017 season already.
The other two options lie with the established Indoor Football League (IFL) and newly formed Arena Development League (ADL).
The only reason the ADL is on the list is because their owners have been involved with the AFL in the past. The probability of that however, is also low.
Which leaves the IFL as the most deserving and perhaps most stable league possible. The league has already handled and maintained three former AFL franchises in the Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, and Spokane Empire.
The news is expected to start flowing soon, so be sure to follow @LWOS_IFL on twitter for all the latest updates.
By kansas_city_royalty of flickr – http://flickr.com/photos/kansas_city_royalty/477904820/, CC BY 2.0, Link