Other Sports

New arena league launching

TULSA, Okla. — Arena football isn't dead yet.

Officials from what will be known as Arena Football 1 said Monday that they will have at least 16 teams — including the Lexington Horsemen — ready to play in 2010. The league will include four in former Arena Football League markets: Salt Lake City, Chicago, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla. The Arizona Rattlers and Orlando Predators played in the old AFL, but the new league's Chicago and Salt Lake City teams did not.

The league will also have teams from the AFL offshoot arenafootball2, as well as at least one team from another indoor league. It will be based in Tulsa. Commissioner Jerry Kurz said it would be a "brand-new league" not connected with the AFL or af2.

"There has been arena football before," said Kurz, a former af2 commissioner. "It's been done well but not as good as it's going to be done this time."

Kurz said more details of the league's business structure — including what the players might be paid — will be announced during the coming weeks. He said the league would use a schedule similar to that used by the AFL and af2, with games starting in late March or early April and running through the summer.

Dan Newman, the owner of the Bossier-Shreveport (La.) BattleWings — who are moving from the af2 to the new league — said Arena Football 1 will use a rule book identical to those used by the AFL and af2.

Other markets included are Little Rock, Ark.; Fresno, Calif.; Des Moines, Iowa; Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee; Oklahoma City; Spokane, Wash.; Huntsville, Ala.; Kennewick, Wash.; and Tulsa.

The new league said eight more teams have submitted membership applications. Newman said the league is negotiating with seven other former AFL franchises, including those in Tampa and San Jose.

Kurz said other franchises will be considered for inclusion in the league through Oct. 9.

The old AFL canceled its 2009 season and folded in August, ending a 22-year run for the high-scoring indoor brand of football that helped launch the career of Super Bowl winner Kurt Warner. Play in af2 was never disrupted, but teams ended the season unsure of what would happen next. The AFL owned 50.1 percent of af2.