An Arena Football Resurgence?
Arena Football is beginning to catch popularity again lately, as the Arena Football League has signed a deal with ESPN. The Arena Bowl will be shown on ESPN2 and the rest of the games on ESPN3. Draft Kings also inked a deal with Arena Football for fantasy football, in which it seems even the players are fully endorsing the opportunity, promoting their fans to select them for their teams for the game.
The Arena Football League (AFL) is the most prominent and ordained league for arena football, but many other leagues also exist for arena football now as well. It is an amazing platform for the players and the fans. The fans in the front row are literally in the game, and players can get flipped over the wall and into the crowd on any given play.
Another arena league, the American Arena League (AAL) is starting to pick up popularity a lot this season. The West Virginia Roughriders are much of the reason for this, as they have been destroying opposing teams. Just for reference, they won 70-0 last Saturday night in an absolute bloodbath of a game against the Burgh Defenders. This brings me to expansion teams.
Many arena leagues picked up expansion teams this season. In the AFL, the Atlantic City Blackjacks and the Columbus Destroyers were both expansion teams. The fanbase for football in Atlantic City has been amazing, as they average tons of people per game. In the AAL, one of the teams I follow very closely, the Burgh Defenders, were an expansion team this season. They have the polar opposite story with them, but it is mainly because they play in a bad facility with a lot of obstacles along the way.
The National Arena League (NAL), picked up the New York Streets and former AFL team, the Orlando Predators. The Streets are one of the top two teams in the league while the Predators are right in the middle. There are more arena leagues, such as the Indoor Football League (IFL), which also received expansion teams this year such as the Bismarck Bucks and the San Diego Strike Force.
Where Could It Fit?
I would love to see the game expand even more. It would awesome to have the spectacle of arena football in more cities. Myrtle Beach would be amazing for arena football, being a vacation hotspot, much like Atlantic City. It would be a great environment for spectators and even the players. There is plenty to do and it could help the economy in the area. With all of the travelers going to the souvenir shops, they could sell their merchandise there and all around the city to have everyone all-in. The city already has baseball in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, whom the city loves and you can find gear in many shops easily for them.
One more place that would be great for arena football is Erie, Pennsylvania. Erie is a great city, for much of the same reason as Myrtle Beach, but on a much smaller spectrum. The Erie area already has baseball (the Erie SeaWolves), basketball (the Erie Bayhawks), and hockey (the Erie Otters). They all have great fan support and all the great city is missing is a football team. It could really take off here too because it’s a melting pot of football fans being almost perfectly in between the Cleveland Browns, the Buffalo Bills, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lake Erie is also a major destination for a lot of people.
Arena Football is making a resurgence. Arena Football can be played anywhere and in any environment, which makes it a great sport to watch in person. You never having to worry about rain, snow, wind, or anything in between. It’s very fan friendly and you have a great chance at catching a ball as a souvenir in a lot of the leagues.
Moose Gibson is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him @_midnightmoose_ on Twitter.