The Alliance of American Football, an 8-team (50 players per) single-entity professional football league, will debut on February 9, 2019. The league will have a 10-week regular season and a 4-team playoff, with the inaugural and Championship games scheduled to air on CBS. Cities and coaches will be named within the next 90 days, but there will not be a player draft; players “looking to begin or extend their football careers” will be allocated to teams based on geographic location (i.e. nearest to where they played NFL or college football). The league, formed by Charlie Ebersol, Bill Polian, Jared Allen, Justin Tuck and Troy Polamalu, doesn’t intend on competing with the NFL; but, seeks to improve its version of professional football by increasing player safety (see: removal of kickoffs), focusing on the fan viewing experience (see: 2-point attempt required after TD) and accelerating the pace of play (see: fewer commercial breaks).
Howie Long-Short: The Alliance of American Football envisions itself as a feeder program for the NFL, a far more attainable goal than competing with the NFL for talent; like XFL 2.0 plans to do. The league also plans to beat the XFL to the punch, starting their inaugural season one-year prior to McMahon’s upstart league. Of course, it’s unknown if the new league has the $100 million runway that McMahon has given the XFL; no information is being released pertaining to the amount of capital raised. The league does have several prominent investors though, including Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund, The Chernin Group and Charles King’s M Ventures.
Fan Marino: The league plans to encourage fan engagement by offering interactive fantasy games, with real prizes, during game action; which will be streamed for free on the league app. Sure, that’s the intention now; but, once SCOTUS legalizes sports betting, you can be sure the league will pivot in that direction.
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