TULSA, OK– As the new season for the Tulsa Talons draws near the parent organization of the league, once known as Arena Football 1 has changed it’s name to what it once went by, the Arena Football League, (AFL) a name that the league held for more than 20 seasons.
The Tulsa Talons who played for nearly 10 seasons in the af2, which was considered a minor league to the AFL when it was born in 2000, will be part of the AFL and instead of being considered a “minor league” squad, it will be a “major league” team. Other markets in what the league is calling it’s “legacy” cities include the Arizona (Phoenix) Rattlers, Clevelnad Gladiators, Chicago Rush, Dallas Viglinates (formerly Deperados), Orlando Predators, Tampa Bay Storm, and the Utah (Salt Lake) Blaze.
They are joined by a host of former af2 teams like Tulsa, Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, Alabama (Huntsville & Tennesee Valley) Vipers, Bossier Shreveport Battle Wings, Iowa Barnstormers and the Spokane Shock. Brand new teams in the league include the Jacksonville Sharks and the Milwaukee Iron. The league will kick off their season with a full weekend slate of games over the weekend of April 2-4.
The announcement comes as the AFL emerges from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy that killed off the “major league” AFL while the independent af2 flourished under a different set of business fundamentals. As it turned out, the demise of the AFL was not attributed to the lack of fans support. “The demise of the former AFL was more a function of a severe recession and rising league and team operational costs.“ AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz said via teleconference. Once we had the opportunity to work as a cohesive group of owners in developing the plan to retool the business model, it was an easy decision for the league to re-launch."
“We’re back and we’re not going anywhere," Kurz said. "We are tremendously excited to bring back Arena Football to our ardent following of fans across the country. With a restructured business plan, we are poised to come back stronger than ever." Deemed the “5th major sport” by ESPN in 2004, the league’s fan loyalty and support has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. A lot of that can be attributed to Arena Football being a true “fan’s sport” in which players, cheerleaders and coaches are accessible to the fans after every game to sign autographs and the teams are required to play an integral part in the community. The fact that in some cities, a season ticket can be purchased for as low as $50.
This season the pedigree of the National Football League will be present. Football legends like Danny White former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, will serve as the President of the Arizona Rattlers and Mike Ditka, the legendary coach of the 1985 “Super Bowl Shuffle” Chicago Bears will be a co-owner of the Chicago Rush. "This was too good of an opportunity for me to pass up," Ditka said. "I have the utmost respect for the players. They are playing for the pure love of the game." Current and former NFL Players like Jeff Garcia, journeyman quarterback who played for San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia as well as Kurt Warner…who won a Super Bowl in 2000 as quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, are alumni of arena football. Celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi and legendary Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway have also been investors in the arena league over the years.
In addition to the legacy of NFL players involved in the game, the tremendous platform provided by the NFL, through the NFL Network, will help grow the AFL’s profile. Recently the cable network announced a slate of games that will be televised nationally on the NFL Network beginning on opening weekend.
The Talons will take the field to face the Tampa Bay Storm on April 3rd at 7pm in the amazing BOK Center. Season tickets start at only $105 and individual game tickets start as low as $10. All ticket information can be obtained at tulsatalons.com and at 918-294-1000.