Marty Judge, the founder and chairman of the China Arena Football League, has announced exciting developments for the second season of play in the CAFL.
“Our first season, in the fall of 2016 was a huge success,” Judge said. “We learned many things from our tour of six great cities. Since then we have been working hard to put those lessons to work in order to ensure our long-term success. To that end, we have decided to shift our season to next spring, rather than the fall.
According to Judge, the move to a spring season is more than a strategic opportunity. “By moving to a spring/summer season, our research shows us that we can better attract the Chinese fans to our arenas, and to our video platforms. This will make our CAFL business model even stronger.”
The CAFL enjoys a multi-year working formal partnership with China’s Sports Bureau’s China Rugby Football Association (CRFA), which has been a driving force behind the success of the CAFL. The China Arena Football League and the China Rugby Football Association agree that it will be advantageous to coordinate the China Arena Football season to be concurrent with the Arena Football League season in the United States. The long range objective is to have an international championship game between the two league champions at the end of the season in Beijing. Mr. Judge remarked, “I have always dreamed of a true World Championship for professional arena football. By moving our CAFL season to the spring, we will mirror the season of the United States AFL, the 30-year established leaders in the sport, which could make that game possible.”
The hope is the move would demonstrate and validate arena football as an international game and to eventually become an Olympic sport. The CRFA believes the concurrent seasons will build enthusiasm for the sport of arena football and the anticipation of the international championship game will be positive for the league’s economics. The CAFL represents a significant part of China’s sports industry growth concept. Gary Morris, CEO of the CAFL added, “Our projections show the sports economy in China will grow rapidly in the next decade. We are very pleased to be a progressive component of President Xi’s sports industry growth plans and objectives.”
Both the CAFL and the CRFA feel it’s logical that America’s most popular sport, football, will be the cornerstone of China’s growing interest in U.S. entertainment culture. As the league now has more time before the start of its second season, Judge announced that the CAFL will be expanding from six to eight teams in the spring of 2018, which gives CAFL President Ed Wang a bevy of new tasks before play begins.
“The fact that we will be expanding will foster more changes which will affect the teams and their personnel. Our draft process will be modified and our schedules will include new venues. No doubt there will be more CAFL news coming as we prepare for the next season,” Wang said.
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