After filing for bankruptcy and ceasing operations in 2019, the Arena Football League is officially making its return under new leadership and will begin to play in the summer of 2024.
F1 Sports & Entertainment — which is also known as Force1 and has no apparent relation to the auto racing competition of the same name — bought the league in January 2022 and has been working on relaunching a league that was first created in 1986. The revamped AFL’s board of directors will include Chairman Chris Chetty, President Anthony Rossi and President of Operations Shan Singh.
“Our objective when we acquired the AFL was to bring back a storied brand that deserved to be revived and showcased again, globally,” Rossi said in a statement. “We envisioned executing on the old saying ‘Bigger and Better,’ but this time, we want to incorporate the components of a modern-day business – streaming, betting, technology, virtual reality, and immerse fan engagement mixed with good old-fashioned iron-man football.”
The league has already made history by appointing Lee A. Hutton III as commissioner — making him the first known Black commissioner of an American professional sports league.
Hutton is the founder and managing partner of his own law firm in Minneapolis and has worked on many high-profile cases in the sports world, including contract negotiations, NFL concussion litigation, and NCAA NIL legal cases.
“The Arena Football League brand has always sat at the promontory of indoor football by offering gridiron entertainment, fast action, and iron tough athletes in conjunction with delivering a family fun fan experience that uniquely engages the pig skin enthusiast,” said Hutton.
Teams and specifics of the 2024 schedule have yet to be announced.
The AFL will compete for traction in a suddenly crowded summer football market: This summer, the USFL will play the second season of its own reboot, while the XFL will play the inaugural games of its third attempt.