One of the defining characteristics of Minor Sports Leagues is that they play to smaller crowds of fans. Minor-Leagues.com has compiled a series of posts that provides details of attendance figures.
The Arena Football League is a game played indoors on a smaller field than American or Canadian outdoor football, resulting in a faster and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in 1981, and patented in 1987, by James F. Foster, Jr., a former executive of the National Football League and the United States Football League. Though not the only variant of indoor American football, it is the most widely known, and the one on which most other forms of modern indoor football are at least partially based.
The AFL, which started play in 1987 and resumed play under new ownership in 2010. The league has historically had a nationwide footprint and has been recognized as the most prominent professional indoor league in North America, offering higher payment, more widespread media exposure, and a longer history than competing leagues.
|League||Sport||Season||# of Teams||Team Change||Games||Games Change||Total Attendance||TA Change||Average Attendance||AA Change||Source|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2006||18 USA||untracked||144||untracked||1,782,504||untracked||12,379||untracked||ArenaFan|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2007||19 USA||5.56%||144||0.00%||1,887,054||5.87%||12,415||0.29%||ArenaFan|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2008||17 USA||-10.53%||136||-5.56%||1,762,263||-6.61%||12,957||4.37%||ArenaFan|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2010||15 USA||-11.76%||120||-11.76%||976,307||-44.60%||8,135||-37.22%||ArenaFan|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2011||18 USA||20.00%||162||35.00%||1,335,058||36.75%||8,241||1.30%||ArenaFan|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2012||17 USA||-5.56%||152||-6.17%||1,191,844||-10.73%||7,841||-4.85%||ArenaFan|
|AFL (Arena Football League)||Arena Football||2013||14 USA||-17.65%||126||-17.11%||1,032,636||-13.36%||8,195||4.51%||ArenaFan|
The AFL did not play a season in 2009 because of financial instability. The AFL suspended the entire 2009 season in order to create “a long-term plan to improve its economic model.” In doing so, the AFL became the second sports league to cancel an entire season, after the National Hockey League cancelled the 2004–05 season because of a lockout. The AFL also became the third sports league to lose its postseason (the first being Major League Baseball, which lost its postseason in 1994 because of a strike). Arena Football maintained some presence in 2009 through the AF2, the AFL’s farm league.
In 2010 AF2 was dissolved and the strongest franchises became part of a new major Indoor Football league called “Arena Football One”. Legally, Arena Football One, now doing business as the Arena Football League, is an entity independent of the original Arena Football League and AF2 and is made up of former AFL and AF2 teams with several new teams and one team from another league. Unlike the previous Arena Football League and AF2, the new AFL was an entity-model league in which the league owns the individual teams and hires local management groups to operate them, rather than the traditional North American sports league model where each team is a separate business and the league is a non-profit association formed and controlled by the various team owners in order to co-ordinate and govern operations.
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