Built upon the pillars of equity, diversity and inclusion, the six-team Arena Football Association (AFA) will mark the beginning of its second professional season with the League’s first in-person owner’s meeting, set for Dec. 5-8 at the Embassy Suites Galleria in Houston, Texas.
Founded by African-American entrepreneurs Douglas C. Freeman, Maximillian L. Hamilton and Fredrick Smith, the AFA made its debut in June 2021 as a five-team league. It has expanded to six teams for the 2022 season with franchises located throughout the state. They include the Amarillo Venom, the West Texas (Odessa) Warbirds, the Texas (Houston) Jets, the Rio Grande Valley Dorados, the Texas (North Richland Hills) Crude and the North Texas (Ft. Worth) Bulls.
“Major professional sports have traditionally favored male ownership and operation,” explained Freeman. “Our league is changing the landscape of owning a team in professional sports, offering women and ethnic-minorities the opportunity to own and operate teams alongside their male counterparts. This expansion of leadership talent will pave the way for a new generation of owners, players, coaches, front office staff and officials.”
The 2022 AFA season will be played from April-July with the League’s championship game, The Carrier Cup, slated to be contested aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, which is stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Arena Football Association is a rarity in that it launched in the midst of a global pandemic, one of, if not the only professional sports league to do so. And the AFA is focused on placing its franchises in underserved markets, targeting cities whose populations range from 200,000 to 2 million.
“Our goal is to bring teams to areas that haven’t been home to football on a professional scale,” added Freeman. “And we want to go places that other professional leagues haven’t dared, hence the decision to host this year’s title game aboard the USS Lexington.”
The Arena Football Association already has a streaming broadcast deal in place with FloSports. Games are played on a 50-yeard field with eight players per side and 15-minute quarters. Players play both offense and defense, and games tend to be extremely high-scoring, as evidenced by the 136 combined points scored by the Amarillo Venom and the League Champion West Texas Warbirds during July’s 2021 championship tilt.
Ticket prices start at an average of $20, and teams offer discount packages for families and veterans.
The Arena Football Association is built on a world-class business model of designed to drive league growth. Every team must adhere to strict business operations principles that help to ensure economic stability.