Since the start of minor league indoor football season, news has been pretty dry.
It’s still early in the season, some teams that will probably fold after or during the season are still hanging onto the dream, and wild stories about players bouncing from league to league in search of glory haven’t surfaced yet.
But today, we have some pretty dang good minor league indoor football league news.
In an announcement posted Friday night, because that always gets a ton of attention and views, Arena Pro Football and the Can-Am Indoor Football League announced they will merge for the 2018 season and form the American Arena League.
“This is an exciting time in indoor football, the synergy that is being created by these two organizations as they forge ahead to form the American Arena League is tremendous,” APF President Jack Bowman said in a release. “”It will allow us to expand our national footprint of fans and increase our television exposure for our teams, players and coaches”.
This news kind of makes sense but at the same time seems a little desperate.
The two leagues had formed some kind of a partnership to work together in their first seasons, with some teams even playing cross-over games to round out schedules.
Both APF and CAIFL were formed in 2017, and recently kicked off their seasons. The leagues will apparently merge next season, taking in all of the teams currently in each league, plus expansion teams that were lined up to play next season.
APF has six teams actively playing with two expansion teams lined up, while CAFIL currently has nine teams playing, meaning, that if no teams fold and the two expansion teams are added, they would have 17 teams next season, making American Arena League the largest indoor football league in the country.
From a release on the APF website:
The AAL is happy to officially announce the addition of the its newest team in Eastern Virginia. The AAL is also in discussions with existing and expansion teams located in Central and Western North Carolina and teams located in three South Carolina cities.
If that comes true, with the already 15 existing teams and the proposed five expansion teams, that would mean a 20-team league, even bigger than I originally thought.
I’ll come out and say it right now. There is no way that is going to happen. I would bet on 2-3 teams from each league folding after the season because of how poorly run they are, or arena problems, or just something coming up. I would bet on closer to 12-14 teams in this league next year, which would make it rival Champions Indoor Football, at least in terms of size.
More from the release:
The AAL will initially be split into two divisions. The Northern Division will consist of teams north of the Virginia/ Maryland border and Canada. The Southern Division will consist of teams south of the Virginia/ Maryland border and west. League ownership will appoint a management team for each division. League operations will be run by the management teams currently in place at Arena Pro Football and the Can-Am Indoor Football Leagues.
Here are the teams currently playing in each league:
So yeah, as if there wasn’t already market saturation on the east coast with the Arena Football League, National Arena League, APF and CAIFL, it will shrink to three leagues but grow by as many as five teams. That would mean there would be 35 indoor football teams across AFL, NAL and AAL just on the east coast.
Truthfully, neither APF or CAIFL have looked that impressive in any aspects, from the play to scores to branding online, so it does make sense to try and merge the strongest teams so the towns that do support it will have a league to play in going forward.
Regardless, as it stands AAL will likely be the fifth-best indoor football league in the county after AFL, Indoor Football League, CIF, and NAL.
Get excited east coast minor league indoor football fans! There’s a new league coming with teams all over the place.