With the introduction of the Women’s Arena Football League, a new opportunity presents itself for women to compete on the gridiron. Anthony Bartley is the commissioner for the ambitious league, which was supposed to launch on June 22 (postponed to June 29) with four franchises based in the southern United States.
Its inaugural game shall feature the Houston Lady Oilers hosting the Dallas Darlings in a battle of Texas-based clubs.
Rounding out the league includes the Atlanta Archers and the New Orleans Bayou Queens. Each franchise will have a roster of 30 players. The one aspect that makes the ambitious league unique is that players shall be compensated for their efforts. With some events scheduled to be broadcast on pay-per-view, it will likely serve as a major source of income.
Before the league launches, there are two unresolved issues. Earlier in the year, the league’s Facebook page featured promotional images for franchises such as the Orlando Eclipse and the Tampa Bay Duchess.
There is no official statement on the current state of the two.
When the Atlanta franchise held their tryouts, part of the promotional material also included casting for reality TV. Once again, there are no details as to whether this would be a program about the formation of the team, similar to HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Employing the same premise as the men’s Arena Football League, games shall be played in arenas meant for basketball and/or ice hockey. On July 21, 2012, the Lady Oilers participated in an exhibition match at Reliant Arena in Houston.
Featuring an 8-on-8 format on a playing field smaller than outdoor women’s football, the game’s final scores should be high scoring affairs. Franchises whose players possess a great deal of speed and agility shall be the most successful.
Of note, Linda Brenner (a former LFL player with the Dallas Desire) shall be competing as the quarterback for the Darlings. While she is the marquee name for the Dallas franchise, the Houston Lady Oilers feature their own unique personalities.
Female wrestler Claudia Solis shall be suiting up for Houston, along with bikini model Aria Hernandez and Andrea Flakes—a female bodybuilder that participated in the Miss Muscle Mania 2013 Lonestar competition.
Female football has grown at a rapid pace as numerous competitive leagues have sprouted throughout North America in the last decade. In Canada, leagues include the Maritime Women’s Football League and Western Women’s Canadian Football League.
Time will tell if there is enough room for a sixth female football league in North America. Marketing and promotion shall be key factors in the long term viability of the WAFL. While the June 22 inaugural game shall influence the fans perception on the overall quality of the product, the league aspires to entertain.