WEST VALLEY CITY — The Arena Football League held a nationwide teleconference Wednesday to announce the league is back in full working order for the 2010 season. The AFL will have 15 teams and the NFL Network is on board to broadcast games on Friday nights.
Commissioner Jerry Kurz said, "We are back better than ever and we are in deep negotiations to expand our league even more for the 2011 season."
The Commissioner explained that during the past year the committed and dedicated owners got together and purchased, for $6.1 million, all the intellectual properties, including names, trademarks, logos, etc., of the former Arena Football League.
Said Kurz, "The new league owners came together with the intention to correct an economic model that had failed. The new owners developed a blueprint for success."
Specific coaches and owners participating in the telephone hook-up included Mike Ditka of the Chicago Rush and Danny White of the Arizona Rattlers.
"We have kids that play the game more for the love of the game," said Ditka. "This is affordable entertainment. It's not going to break you to take the family to a game."
Kurz would not be specific about player contracts but he did say, "All players are paid the same wage in Arena Football."
Another reason the league will work this time around according to Kurz: "We have a single entity structure. We can capitalize on size and quantity."
Locally, the Utah Blaze announced last month operations are proceeding forward. General Manager Steve Videtich said KTVX Channel 4 will broadcast six home games on Friday and Saturday nights. Two of the Blaze's road games will be broadcast nationally by the NFL Network.
Videtich said there are still seven or eight spots to fill on the roster. There will be tryouts at Eccles Fieldhouse at the University of Utah on Feb. 27th from 7-11 p.m.
He said the Blaze recently signed former Utah QB Brett Elliott and are still talking to a couple of other candidates.
The Blaze are owned by Dave Affleck and will play home games in the E-Center under head coach Ernest Purnsley. Utah opens the season at home on April 9th against Spokane.
White, who formerly coached Utah, is now excited to be back associated with the Arizona team. He is convinced the league is solid as he said, "There are a lot of sacrifices being made by a lot of people."
He added, "All you have to do is look into the eyes of our fans to realize this is a great product."
Speaking more on expansion and the ultimate number of teams, Kurz said, "That horizon is open. We are dedicated to expansion but it must be appropriate. We want to make sure we do it the right way. We want to walk before we run. It has to be good, measured growth."
Specific areas mentioned for expansion by Kurz were Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Southern California. "But," he said, "We have many more applications."