League executives seeking new financing options for inaugural season

Updated: March 13, 2008, 3:42 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The new All American Football League has scrapped plans for its 2008 inaugural season and will continue to search for financial backing for 2009.

Kennan Davis, the AAFL's vice president of league operations, said sponsors have commitments to remain with the league in 2009.

The league's decision to postpone its 2008 season was first reported by KRIV-TV in Houston.

The league's chief executive officer, Marcus Katz, said economic conditions forced the decision to scrap plans for this year.

"I invested 29 million dollars in cash to roll out the operations of the league," Katz told the station, adding he was owed "a lot more money" by a student loan company.

"When I told the board I would subsidize the league, that was before the bond market collapsed," Katz said.

The league announced last week it was exploring "multiple financing options," including a TV deal, to address its funding crisis.

The league announced Thursday refunds will be given for tickets purchased for 2008 games.

The league planned to open training camps for its six teams this week. Games were scheduled to begin April 12.

The league held its inaugural draft in January for six teams: Detroit, Mich.; Little Rock, Ark; Gainesville, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Houston, Tex..

The AAFL was formed to fill the void created when the NFL shut down NFL Europe earlier this year after 16 seasons. That league was losing a reported $30 million a season.

Among the first players drafted on Jan. 26 were quarterbacks Bryan Randall, by Tennessee, and Eric Crouch, by Texas. Former Troy offensive lineman Zarah Yisrael was drafted No. 1 overall by Arkansas.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press