SPOKANE -- An offseason full of change for the Spokane Shock saw one more major shift on Wednesday when the team's new league Arena Football One officially became the Arena Football League.
In a morning teleconference, commissioner Jerry Kurz announced that the AFL is back in business after a one year hiatus due to financial issues. The AF1 will not take on any of the Arena Football League's old debt, but they did pay $6.1 million dollars for all the AFL's assets, including team names, logos, film archives, and records.
In other words...this really is the Arena Football League. It's not Arena Football One acting as the AFL by using its logos, etc.
“We’re back and we’re not going anywhere,” Kurz said. “We are tremendously excited to bring the Arena Football League back to our ardent following of fans across the country. With a restructured business plan, we are poised to come back stronger than ever.”
There are 15 teams set to play this season, including the Spokane Shock. The first games are scheduled for April 2nd. Spokane will no longer play in the inaugural game though, instead Iowa will host Chicago on national television (more on the TV deal in a second).
Even though games haven't even started, the AFL is already "deep into negotiations" to expand for the 2011 season. The top four options appear to be Philadelphia (owned by Jon Bon Jovi and Ron Jaworksi), Southern California, Denver, and Pittsburgh.
The Arena Football League also confirmed that they have a national television deal with the NFL Network (we reported on this last week). The network will air one "Game of the Week" every Friday night in the 5-8pm PT time slot. I was told the network will choose the best matchup every week and move it into that time slot (much like the NFL does with Sunday Night Football), but the Shock are scheduled play on national TV on July 16th at Iowa and July 23rd at home against Chicago.
"The NFL Network is going to provide a great vehicle to get our product to the people and that's really important," said co-owner of the Chicago Rush Mike Ditka. "People have to be able to see the players and they have to be able to associate with them so they can have their own hometown heroes."
You can listen to the entire press conference by clicking here.
We are schedule to talk to the Spokane Shock about what these announcements mean to them (and to you -- the fans) this afternoon. Stay tuned to KREM.com and KREM 2 News for all the latest.