Alliance of American Football

Last updated

Alliance of American Football
Most recent season or competition:
2019 AAF season
Alliance of American Football.png
Sport American football
FoundedMarch 20, 2018 (2018-03-20)
Inaugural season 2019
CeasedApril 17, 2019 (bankruptcy) [1]
No. of teams8
CountryUnited States
Headquarters San Francisco, California [2]
TV partner(s)
Official website www.aaf.com

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) was [1] a professional American football league, founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. [3] The AAF consisted of eight centrally owned and operated teams, all in the southern and western United States. All teams except Birmingham were located in metropolitan areas with at least one major professional sports franchise.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Charles Duncan Ebersol, is an American television and film producer and director. Ebersol is best known as the co-founder of The Company with Justin Hochberg, executive producer of USA Network's NFL Characters Unite and a co-producer of The Profit on CNBC. He is also the co-founder and CEO of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

Bill Polian American football executive

William Patrick Polian, Jr. is an American football executive. He rose to league prominence as the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills, building a team that participated in four straight Super Bowls—the most consecutive appearances by any team—but lost each time. Following his stint in Buffalo, Polian went on to become the General Manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers. He then served as President and General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League from 1998 to 2011, where they reached two Super Bowls, winning XLI. He subsequently served as an NFL analyst for ESPN. Polian was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2018, Polian co-founded the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

Contents

The AAF began play on February 9, 2019, six days after the National Football League's (NFL) Super Bowl LIII championship game. On April 2, 2019, the league's football operations were suspended by controlling owner Thomas Dundon, who purchased his stake in the league shortly after it began play. [4] [5] Two days later, the AAF allowed players to leave their contracts to sign with NFL teams. [6] On April 17, 2019, the league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. [7] [1]

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Super Bowl LIII National Football League championship game

Super Bowl LIII was an American football game played to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2018 season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Los Angeles Rams, 13–3. The game was played on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first Super Bowl played at that stadium, and the third one held in Atlanta.

Thomas Dundon is an American businessman, specializing in financial services and entertainment. He serves as Chairman and Managing Partner of Dundon Capital Partners in Dallas, Texas, and is majority owner and chief executive officer of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League as well as the chairman of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

History

Filmmaker Charlie Ebersol was inspired to create the AAF in late 2016 after producing the documentary This Was the XFL for ESPN Films' 30 for 30 series; upon researching and examining the history of the XFL, he came to the conclusion that the concept was viable but that the finished product was both poorly executed and, from an on-field standpoint, bad football. He began developing the AAF in February 2017, about the same time that word had come out about XFL co-founder Vince McMahon possibly reviving the old XFL brand. [8] Exhibits in a lawsuit filed by Robert Vanech, who claimed to have co-founded the AAF, state that Ebersol had originally approached McMahon about relaunching the XFL but was unable to come to an agreement, as Ebersol wanted control of the XFL brand and was willing to pay $50 million for the trademark, which McMahon was unwilling to sell. [9]

ESPN Films

ESPN Films is a production company which produces and distributes sports films and documentaries. It is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company and the Hearst Communications.

<i>30 for 30</i> Series of documentary films airing on ESPN from 2009

30 for 30 is the title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN, its sister networks, and online highlighting interesting people and events in sports history. This includes three "volumes" of 30 episodes each, a 13-episode series under the ESPN Films Presents title in 2011–2012, and a series of 30 for 30 Shorts shown through the ESPN.com website. The series has also expanded to include Soccer Stories, which aired in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and audio podcasts.

XFL Former American football league

The XFL was a professional American football league that played its only season in 2001. The XFL was operated as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation and NBC. The XFL was conceived as an outdoor football league that would begin play immediately after the National Football League season ended to take advantage of lingering public desire to watch football after the NFL and college football seasons had concluded. It was promoted as having fewer rules to encourage rougher play than other major leagues. The league had eight teams in two divisions, including major markets and some not directly served by the NFL, such as Birmingham, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Orlando. The XFL operated as a single entity with all teams owned by the league, in contrast to most major professional leagues, which use a franchise model with individual owners.

The AAF was announced on March 20, 2018. Ebersol sought to focus on creating a solid football product in the hopes that it would attract fans. He hired a team of experienced football players, coaches and executives to prepare the league for launch. [8] The AAF was overseen by former NFL general manager Bill Polian, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, and executive J. K. McKay. Advisers also include former Steelers receiver Hines Ward, former New York Giants and Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck, retired referee and current Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira, and Ebersol's father, retired NBC Sports executive (and co-founder of the original XFL) Dick Ebersol. [10]

Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC.

Troy Polamalu American football player, safety and American football executive

Troy Aumua Polamalu is a former American football strong safety of Samoan descent who played his entire twelve-year career for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Southern California (USC) and earned consensus All-American honors. He was chosen by the Steelers in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He was a member of two of the Steelers' Super Bowl championship teams and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. Polamalu is an eight time Pro-Bowler and a six time All-Pro selection. He was also the Head of Player Relations of the Alliance of American Football.

John McKay Jr. American football wide receiver

John Kenneth "J.K." McKay is a former American football player, trial attorney, and executive with positions at the Alliance of American Football and the University of Southern California. As a professional athlete, McKay played wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1976 to 1978.

Ebersol attended the first XFL game in Las Vegas in 2001, and remembered how disappointed his father was by the poor quality of play. [11] To ensure professional-level football at launch, the AAF set out to hire coaches with professional football coaching and championship experience. [12] On April 7, 2018, the first team, Orlando, was announced with its coach Steve Spurrier. [13] By June 2018, the league had announced its eight inaugural teams and their cities. [10]

Steve Spurrier American football player, Heisman Trophy winner, College Football Hall of Fame, quarterback, coach

Stephen Orr Spurrier is a former American football player and coach often referred to by his nickname, the "Head Ball Coach". Steve Spurrier was born in Miami Beach, Florida and grew up in Tennessee, where he was a multi-sport all-state athlete at Science Hill High School in Johnson City. He attended the University of Florida, where he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a college football quarterback with the Florida Gators. The San Francisco 49ers picked him in the first round of the 1967 NFL draft, and he spent a decade playing professionally in the National Football League (NFL), mainly as a backup quarterback and punter. Spurrier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986.

On July 30, 2018, the Alliance announced the league had signed 100 players. [14] In August 2018, the league held the Alliance Scouting Combine at three locations and four dates: August 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California; August 18 in Houston, Texas; and August 25–26 in Atlanta, Georgia. [15] By August 24, 2018, 205 players were signed. [16] These dates provided an opportunity for players cut at the NFL roster deadline, and each player signed a non-guaranteed three-year contract worth a total of $250,000 ($70,000 in 2019; $80,000 in 2020; $100,000 in 2021), [17] with performance-based and fan-interaction incentives allowing for players to earn more. [18]

In July 2018, Starter, through G-III Sports, which manufactured NFL jerseys and apparel in the 1980s and 1990s, was named the official on-field apparel and game-day uniform supplier for the AAF, marking a return for the brand to professional football after an almost 20 year absence. [19] On September 20, the league announced four eastern inaugural franchises' names and logos. [20] The four western teams' logos and names were revealed five days later. [21]

Inaugural season

On October 16, 2018, the Alliance announced its schedule (indicating the day and location, but not the time, of each game) which has two games each on Saturday and on Sunday most weekends. [22] Quarterback skills training camps were held at the Alamodome in San Antonio on November 12 through 14. On November 27, the league held a four-round "Protect or Pick" quarterback draft in the Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas and broadcast on CBS Sports Network. [23]

The AAF began its inaugural, 10-week season on February 9, 2019. [10] The first points in AAF regular season history were scored by kicker Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Legends, who made a 38-yard field goal against the Orlando Apollos. The first touchdown came in the same game with Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert connecting with Jalin Marshall for a 16-yard score. [24] The first shutout was recorded by the Birmingham Iron when they defeated the Memphis Express, 26–0, in Week 1. [25] The first onside conversion (see Rules section, below) was attempted during Week 3, with Atlanta successfully completing a 48-yard pass against Birmingham. [26] The first safety was registered by Atlanta against the Arizona Hotshots in Week 4. [27] The first overtime game occurred in Week 7, with Memphis defeating Birmingham. [28]

A four-team playoff was to be capped with the league's championship game, initially scheduled to be held at Sam Boyd Stadium near Las Vegas. After Dundon took over league operations, he moved the game to the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas. [29]

Cessation of operations

On April 2, 2019, the AAF suspended all football operations, on orders from AAF chairman Tom Dundon. [30] League co-founder Bill Polian stated:

I am extremely disappointed to learn Tom Dundon has decided to suspend all football operations of the Alliance of American Football. When Mr. Dundon took over, it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all. The momentum generated by our players, coaches and football staff had us well positioned for future success. Regrettably, we will not have that opportunity. [30]

Players found out about the suspension through the Internet before their coaches confirmed the news. [31] Players were evicted from the hotels where their teams were being housed—with some being personally charged for unpaid hotel bills [32] —and required to pay their own way home; they also lost their health insurance and were forced to cover their own medical bills from injuries sustained during play. [33] League employees were notified via an April 2 letter from the AAF board, which did not give a reason for ending the season, [30] that their jobs were terminated as of April 3 with no severance. [32] Ebersol and Dundon refused public comment; [32] Ebersol would eventually speak out on April 17, stating that he had been advised not to speak by his attorneys. He insisted that the money he raised was there and had been vetted up until immediately before the season, claimed that reports of players being saddled with hotel and medical bills were either fake news or fraudulent charges, and could not ensure that all those owed money would be paid. [34]

On April 4, the AAF announced through their official Twitter account that players were eligible to leave their contracts to sign with NFL teams. [6] The contracts that players had originally signed included a stipulation that they could leave to sign with NFL teams at the conclusion of an AAF season. [35] The league did not issue any public statement until April 6, when the AAF.com website was updated with a statement, which read in part:

This week, we made the difficult decision to suspend all football operations for the Alliance of American Football. We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry. This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we are also committed to working on solutions for all outstanding issues to the best of our ability. Due to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision. [36]

At the time its football operations were suspended, the AAF had played eight weeks out of a scheduled ten-week regular season.

Bankruptcy liquidation

On April 17, the league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation) in Texas’ Eastern District. [7] In the filing, the league claimed assets of $11.3 million, liabilities of $48.3 million, and approximately $536,000 in cash. [37] The AAF counted its player contracts among its assets in the bankruptcy filing, blocking players from joining the Canadian Football League. [38] This block was lifted a day after the bankruptcy filing. [39]

The revived XFL, against which the AAF was slated to economically compete had it survived, is among those bidding for the AAF's tangible assets, bidding $375,000 on a storage lot containing the teams' uniforms and equipment. [40]

Teams

Team [21] CityStadiumCapacityHead coach [41]
Eastern Conference
Atlanta Legends Atlanta, Georgia Georgia State Stadium 24,333 Kevin Coyle
Birmingham Iron Birmingham, Alabama Legion Field 71,594 Tim Lewis
Memphis Express Memphis, Tennessee Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium 58,325 Mike Singletary
Orlando Apollos Orlando, Florida Spectrum Stadium 44,206 Steve Spurrier
Western Conference
Arizona Hotshots Tempe, Arizona Sun Devil Stadium 57,078 Rick Neuheisel
Salt Lake Stallions Salt Lake City, Utah Rice–Eccles Stadium 45,807 Dennis Erickson
San Antonio Commanders San Antonio, Texas Alamodome 64,000 Mike Riley
San Diego Fleet San Diego, California SDCCU Stadium 70,561 Mike Martz
Usa edcp location map.svg
Locations of teams for the 2019 AAF season.
Red pog.svg Eastern Conference Blue pog.svg Western Conference

Rules

Ebersol deliberately avoided making radical changes to the rules of the game so as to make it recognizable to the U.S. public. He stated that he used the average length of a feature film, slightly over two hours, as the basis for a typical fan's attention span. [8]

Business

The Alliance operated as a single entity, with all teams owned and operated by the league, under the name Legendary Field Exhibitions LLC. [46] Some of the investors in the AAF included Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, The Chernin Group (which owns Barstool Sports), Jared Allen, Slow Ventures, Adrian Fenty, Charles King's M Ventures, and Keith Rabois. [54] [45] Long-term plans were for the AAF to sell franchises to individual owners. [56]

MGM Resorts International made an investment in the AAF tech platform, [57] and entered a three-year sponsorship agreement to become the league's official sports betting sponsor and exclusive gaming partner. The deal marked the first time any sports organization had sold exclusive in-game betting rights to a sportsbook. [58] [59] Scott Butera, MGM's director of interactive gaming (the division that signed an agreement with the AAF), was formerly the commissioner of the Arena Football League before his 2018 ouster. [60] Under the terms of the agreement, MGM Resorts International owned all rights to the tech platform in the event the league ceases operations, preventing an investor from buying the league solely for access to the technology. [61] Gambling functions were never implemented on the league's app, [61] and many planned features for the app never materialized due to technical glitches and impracticality. [56]

The league also had player bonuses and scholarships, with player bonuses based on performance and fan interaction, players were to earn a year's scholarship in post-secondary education for each season of play. [46] Players got three-year, non-guaranteed contracts worth $250,000 plus health insurance with an escape clause to go to the NFL. [43] The three-year contract was believed to be purposely targeting the XFL to prevent second-tier professional players from signing with the XFL if they played in the AAF in 2019. [62] XFL commissioner Oliver Luck stated that he did not believe that such a clause would hold up in court after the AAF collapsed, and that the XFL would be willing to sign AAF players. [63] The league also has an incentive system that pays members of a team's offensive and defensive units for statistical achievements and also pays players to perform community service; the exact details of this incentive system were not yet finalized at the start of the 2019 season. [8] Players are assigned to each team by way of a centralized process that is largely a trade secret. [8] For the fans, in addition to a fantasy league built into mobile broadcasts, there are low ticket prices (each team have a $35/game sideline seat option) and inexpensive food at games. [46] When the league abruptly folded, the league left players to personally pay outstanding bills for their own hotels, as well as their transportation home and even their medical bills from injuries sustained during play. [33]

The AAF coaching salaries varied by title, with $500,000 for head coaches, $200–250,000 for coordinators, and $75–150,000 for position coaches. Each AAF team employed between 11 and 13 total coaches, putting the total coaching staff expenditures at around $2 million per staff and $16 million for the entire league. [64]

Dundon investment

On February 18, 2019, the league announced that Tom Dundon, whose other holdings include the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL) and TopGolf, agreed to invest $250 million into the league. [65] He was also named the new chairman of the AAF, [66] and Dundon reportedly received a majority stake in the league in exchange for his investment. [67] Dundon's investment was initially reported to be due to the league being in danger of not making payroll. [66] It was later reported that the payroll issue was due to a glitch in the league's changing of payroll companies, and that Dundon's investment had already been planned. [68] Dundon noted, however, that the league "had the commitments to last a long time, but maybe not the money in the bank." [67] He also later backtracked on his previous claim of a $250 million investment, noting that he had not actually delivered a $250 million lump sum to the league. Dundon plans on incrementally investing in the league, using $250 million as a theoretical maximum based on if the league were to "aggressively expand," and reserved the right to pull out of the league at any time. [69] [70] At the time of the reported April 2 suspension, Dundon had invested an estimated $70 million into the AAF. [71] He had drastically reduced unnecessary expenses and mostly abandoned the technology platform by the end of the league's operations in a desperate attempt to keep the league financially viable. [56]

Ebersol had admitted prior to the start of the season that, on numerous occasions, the AAF had come dangerously close to folding before its first game due to various unstated complications. [8] When asked whether some of the AAF's initial investors had dropped out, Ebersol declined to answer. [60] After the league suspended operations, it was revealed that one of the league's major investors, former Minnesota Vikings minority owner Reggie Fowler, had indeed pulled his funding after the inaugural game, necessitating the abrupt sale to Dundon. [32] It came out in late April that Fowler's funds had been frozen by the Department of Justice, after Fowler's indictment on charges of money laundering for cryptocurrency exchanges. [72]

In early March 2019, it was revealed by Bill Polian that the AAF and National Football League were in informal discussions about a system where players under contract to NFL teams could be loaned to AAF teams. The idea would have been be for NFL teams to assign their third-string quarterback and other players from the bottom half of their roster and practice squads to the AAF to gain more playing time in a similar system to what used to be in place during the existence of NFL Europe. [73] This would have in effect made the AAF an official developmental league of the NFL. Dundon sought a change in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement to protect AAF players who may get injured and miss NFL playing time by ensuring the players still earned a salary from the NFL during their recovery. In late March, Dundon stated that, in reference to the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and its reluctance to cooperate out of concern for injuries, if they are "not going to give us young players, we can't be a development league". He added that the AAF was looking at its options, including discontinuing the league if the NFLPA wasn't willing to work with the league. [74] Profootballtalk.com reported shortly thereafter, citing unnamed sources, that if Dundon's demands were not met, he was willing to end his investment before the season ended, possibly as soon as after Week 8, which would cut off the league's cash flow and force it to immediately fold with the playoffs and championship left unplayed. [75] As Week 8 passed, Dundon reiterated his stance on April 1, stating he was still willing to pull his funding before the next week's game. [76]

Ultimately the AAF lost an estimated $88 million overall, earning only $12 million in revenue against its $100 million expenses. [77]

In late February 2019, a lawsuit by a venture capitalist in Los Angeles became public, as the AAF issued a statement denying a claim by Robert Vanech that the league was his idea and that he had a handshake agreement with Charlie Ebersol; Vanech is seeking financial damages and 50 percent ownership of the league. [78] [79]

Also in late February, the league revealed that it had been unable to secure a league-wide worker's compensation insurance policy prior to the start of the season, forcing the Orlando Apollos to move its practice operations to Kingsland, Georgia, and commute to Orlando for games, as Florida does not consider professional athletes to be eligible for worker's compensation. [80]

In April 2019, after the league suspended football operations, two players—punter Colton Schmidt of the Birmingham Iron and linebacker Reggie Northrup of the Orlando Apollos—filed a class action lawsuit in California, claiming that they were misled about the financial viability of the league and that the league entered contracts with players in bad faith. [81]

Also in April, two former front-office league employees filed a class action lawsuit in California, claiming that the league violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, which requires large companies to give at least a 60-day advanced notice before large layoffs. [82]

Reggie Fowler was arrested April 30, 2019, on charges related to operating a massive cryptocurrency scam in 2018, the funds for which were used to fund his AAF investments. [83]

Key people


Executives

Player Engagement Board Of Advisors

Source: [84]

Board of Directors

Media

As part of its formation, the AAF announced broadcast deals with CBS Sports; [54] opening day (consisting of two regionally-televised games) [86] was scheduled for CBS, as well as a playoff semifinal and the championship game. [54] [87] The telecasts made extensive use of on-field microphones (with head coaches and quarterbacks also miked), and Skycams (with two deployed for each game, with one along the sideline, as opposed to having more than one high camera). Half of the games broadcast each week were produced off-site from Sneaky Big Studios in Scottsdale, Arizona: graphics (which were provided by CBS), Skycam operations, and commentary were performed remotely from the Scottsdale site, as well as studio coverage for all games (via a virtual studio). [88] Ebersol did not disclose whether or not the league was buying the airtime or receiving the airtime for free as part of a partnership agreement. [11] After the season ended, it was confirmed that the AAF had resorted to buying airtime and was unlikely to be able to extract a rights fee from any of its partners for its foreseeable future, a factor in Dundon's decision to withdraw his investment. [56] CBS broadcast an ad for the league during its coverage of Super Bowl LIII. [89]

CBS Sports Network aired one game per week, and was scheduled to air one of the playoff games. [54] In addition to local stations, [90] TNT was announced as broadcasting two games per season (one regular season and a playoff game which later was expanded to include three regular season games) while NFL Network aired two weekly games. [91] The league's mobile app offered live streaming of all games except those broadcast on CBS Sports Network, billed as "AAF Raw" as most of the AAF live streams contain no announcers or on-screen graphics, while Turner's B/R Live streamed one game a week. [91] Integrated fantasy games were available through the AAF site and app as well. [10]

CBSSN's game of the week was called by Ben Holden, Adam Archuleta, and John Schriffen. [86] NFL Network's broadcast team for week one consisted of Dan Hellie on play-by-play and Marvin Lewis on color commentary. [92] TNT's broadcast team consisted of Brian Anderson on play-by-play, Lewis on color commentary, and Maurice Jones-Drew as sideline reporter. The league did not use set announcer pairings, rotating numerous hosts (several of them from the NFL on CBS and the SEC on CBS ) on both play-by-play and color commentary, depending on availability. [93]

Sirius XM Radio, a satellite radio service, carried a select Game of the Week. [94] Additionally, teams made broadcast deals with local radio affiliates. [95] [96] [97]

Reception

Critics

The AAF received mixed to positive reviews opening night. Profootballtalk.com, in a mostly positive review, praised the league's television product and choice of markets that would embrace the league, singling out the live look-ins at the replay booth during coach's challenges as an innovation that could transfer to the NFL's television broadcasts. The on-field level of play was somewhat less well-received, being compared to NFL preseason levels, with numerous offensive miscues. [98] SB Nation had a similar assessment, criticizing the game play as "much worse than... most of major college football," while at the same time noting that the league's innovations were largely successful in making games more interesting. [99] In an admittedly incomplete review, Peter King stated that although he would not yet draw any "major conclusions" about the league, he liked some of the rule changes but feared the overtime process would be a gimmick. [100]

Viewership

Overnight Nielsen Ratings stated that the league-opening regionally televised games on CBS were the highest rated telecast of the night in the key demographic, drawing more viewers than an NBA game on ABC in the same time slot. In overall viewers, both the AAF and NBA lost to a rerun of America's Got Talent: The Champions on NBC. [101] The NFL Network telecast that week secured 640,000 viewers. [11] With these comparatively strong initial viewership statistics, the Week 2 ratings were highly anticipated in the interest of developing trended data. In Week 2, the afternoon and evening games on Saturday, February 16, reportedly attracted 1,018,000 and 425,000 viewers, respectively, in addition to the Sunday evening game on February 17 drawing 424,000 viewers. [102] Week 3's NFL Network games drew 491,000 and 515,000 viewers, benefiting in part due to a counterprogramming effort against the 91st Academy Awards. [103] Week 4's ratings were largely consistent with those of week 2, with the two NFL Network games that week securing ratings of 404,000 and 450,000 viewers, comparable to college basketball and NHL telecasts on the other sports networks. [104] The disparity between the afternoon and evening games is consistent due to increased competition during primetime hours and the higher market penetration of CBS and TNT compared to NFL Network and CBS Sports Network.

In March 2019, building upon these ratings successes, both CBS and TNT added games to their packages; TNT added two additional Saturday afternoon games previously scheduled for B/R Live (which would air special Skycam-only broadcasts of the games as a companion instead), while CBS announced that it would shift two games from CBS Sports Network to broadcast television, including a regular season game on April 6, 2019 (which would have led towards CBS's broadcast of the 2019 NCAA Final Four), and one of the conference championship games. [105] [104] However, due to the suspension of football operations, these games were left unplayed.

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The Arizona Hotshots were a professional American football team based in Tempe, Arizona, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football, which began play in February 2019. They played their home games at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University. The Hotshots were one of two AAF teams based in a city that already had an NFL team. The Hotshots were coached by former USFL player and college head coach Rick Neuheisel. Scott Brubaker was the team president and Phil Savage was the general manager.

The San Diego Fleet was a professional American football team based in San Diego, California, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The league began play in February 2019, with the team playing its home games at SDCCU Stadium. They were coached by former NFL head coach Mike Martz. The team was one of the two professional football teams playing in San Diego, along with the San Diego Strike Force of the Indoor Football League, and the first since the former San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017.

The Birmingham Iron were a professional American football team based in Birmingham, Alabama, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The team began play in 2019, playing its home games at Legion Field. A new stadium at the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex was expected to be completed in 2021.

The San Antonio Commanders were a professional American football team based in San Antonio, Texas, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The league began play in February 2019. The team played its home games at the Alamodome.

The XFL Dallas is a professional American football team based in Dallas, Texas. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, which is being repurposed as a football venue after its previous tenant, Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers, relocates to the newly built Globe Life Field.

The XFL Tampa Bay is a professional American football team based in Tampa, Florida. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at Raymond James Stadium, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL.

The 2019 Atlanta Legends season was the first and only season for the Atlanta Legends as a professional American football franchise; they played as charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). They were one of eight teams to compete in the AAF for the 2019 season. The Legends played their home games on the campus of Georgia State University, at Georgia State Stadium and were led by head coach Kevin Coyle, after the position was resigned by Brad Childress a month before the season began.

The 2019 Memphis Express season was the first season for the Memphis Express as a professional American football franchise; they played as charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). They were one of eight teams to compete in the AAF for the 2019 season. The Express played their home games at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and were led by head coach Mike Singletary.

The 2019 San Antonio Commanders season was the first season for the San Antonio Commanders as a professional American football franchise; they played as charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). They were one of eight teams to compete in the AAF for the 2019 season. The Commanders played their home games at the Alamodome and were led by head coach Mike Riley.

The 2019 San Diego Fleet season was the first, last, and only season for the San Diego Fleet as a professional American football franchise; they played as charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). They were one of eight teams to compete in the AAF for the 2019 season. The Fleet played their home games at the SDCCU Stadium and were led by head coach Mike Martz.

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Further reading