The Arena Football League is back in 2010 and has entered into a new telecast partnership with NFL Network, it was announced Thursday.
The AFL will premiere its 2010 regular season on NFL Network with a live, primetime game telecast Friday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET. Weekly featured AFL "Game of the Week" telecasts are scheduled for Friday nights in primetime throughout the AFL's 18-game regular season.
AFL playoff games between the top four teams in each of the National and American conferences will be played in August, culminating with the 2010 ArenaBowl Championship game on NFL Network on the weekend of Aug. 20-23.
All AFL games on NFL Network will be telecast in high definition and feature specialized in-game audio techniques that capture the fast-paced intensity that is the hallmark of the AFL's "50-Yard Indoor War."
AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz stated, "This is a tremendous milestone for the fantastic, fan friendly game of Arena Football. To be broadcast partners with the NFL Network is going to be the ultimate experience for our great fans, players and coaches.
"We embrace football at all levels," added Charles Coplin, Vice President of Programming of NFL Network. "The AFL deal gives us exciting live football games on Friday nights from a league that has produced NFL players in the past, including Kurt Warner."
The game of arena football was invented in February of 1981 by Jim Foster, who was a promotion manager at NFL Properties at that time. Foster went on to launch Arena Football League play in May of 1987, and the popularity of the new hybrid indoor gridiron adaptation quickly grew. After 22 seasons of play with coverage on NBC, ESPN and others, the telecast partnership with the NFL Network in 2010 opens a unique new chapter for the AFL.
The deal with NFL Network was negotiated on behalf of the AFL by consultant Neal Pilson. Under the terms of the agreement, the AFL will be responsible for the sale of advertising inventory and work jointly with NFL Network on production, planning and execution. NFL Network will provide the on-air talent.
The AFL's 15-team league includes the Chicago Rush, Dallas Vigilantes, Tampa Bay Storm, Orlando Predators, Arizona Rattlers (Phoenix), Cleveland Gladiators, Utah Blaze (Salt Lake City) and the new Jacksonville Sharks, Alabama Vipers (Huntsville), Bossier-City/Shreveport Battlewings, Iowa Barnstormers, Milwaukee Iron, Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, Spokane Shock and Tulsa Talons.