To arena football fans' delight, the Arena Football League's attendance has increased dramatically over the last few years, averaging 12,415 wild fans per game during the 2007 season. However, this increase was accompanied by greatly increased expenses and debt.
This led to the league's suspension of operations on Dec. 14, 2008. The Arena Football League itself has suspended its operations for 2009, but they have continued to maintain the AF2—their minor league.
Let me tickle your Arena Football fancy with a possible league-saving solution. If the Arena Football League cannot resolve the situation with restructuring their organization, then I propose a buy-out.
Not by me, of course, but maybe the National Football League would be interested. I purpose an AFL-NFL merger.
Now, before all the arena naysayers start booing and hissing, hear me out. A merger is any combination of two or more business enterprises into a single enterprise. This would be perfect since both organizations represent the same idea, professional football entertainment.
The Arena Football League has been around for 22 years while the NFL has been around for 88 years. Some of you may remember a similar merger; the AFL–NFL merger of 1970 was the merger of the two major professional American football leagues in the United States at the time—the NFL and the American Football League (AFL).
While that was a merger of two outdoor leagues that were at war with each other and competing for the same ratings, my merger recommendation would be more beneficial.
My proposal on how the NFL could use the AFL is as follows:
1) NFL owners could purchase existing AFL teams and relocate them to their respective cities. This would make AFL teams more financially stable while allowing NFL owners a chance to expand their fanbase with an outdoor game as well as an indoor game. With the exception of the New Orleans VooDoo, of course.
2) Perhaps the NFL could use the AFL as a minor league system for farming future players while even giving practice squad players a chance for additional playing time.
3) The NFL could capitalize on year-round marketing opportunities. The NFL owners who also own AFL teams (like the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Desperados) could create combo ticket packages for both teams. This would create a link for fans to experience both games for a reasonable price.
Since the Arena Football season is during the NFL offseason, teams could lower cost by using the same training facilities and staff.
Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Desperados owner Jerry Jones said it best: "Our involvement with the Arena Football League was always geared toward promoting football on a year-round basis. Our experience with the Desperados has accomplished those goals and has been very positive."