NFL Looks To Extend It's Sporting Reach
American football fans with an insatiable appetite for the game will be delighted to hear that the season is set to be extended.
It seems to be a sport grappling with how to shape it's future.
Falling tv viewership figures, and concussion concerns are amongst the issues it's looking to resolve.
Growing revenue is one of the motivating factors with taking the game abroad now.
It's also emerged that a new American football league backed by senior figures in the industry has launched, with the goal of filling the void created following the end of the NFL season.
The Alliance of American Football will kick off its season on the Sunday following the 2019 Super Bowl and executives have stated that it’s not intended as a mere developmental league.
The Alliance has been created by Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, one of the most respected executives in NFL history and now an analyst for sports broadcaster ESPN, along with television and film producer Charlie Ebersol. Ebersol is the son of Dick Ebersol, former chairman of the NBC Sports Group division of US media company NBCUniversal and creator of the Sunday Night Football franchise.
The league will run across a February to April schedule, with the eight teams to be announced at a later date.
Rosters will be made up of players who fail to make NFL squads, college athletes who have gone undrafted, players seeking to return to the sport and other free agents.
“Football is so dominant for six months of the year,” says Ebersol. “It even hides a number we focused on: millions of fans who stop watching the top five sports in America when football is off the air with millions of football fans who don’t want to watch other sports.
And there are 59 million who play fantasy sports, 29 million of them stopped when football ended.
News of the Alliance of American Football comes just weeks after another new league emerged.
In January, Vince McMahon, chairman and chief executive of US wrestling organisation WWE, resurrected the XFL by announcing that the league would be reborn in 2020.
McMahon, who founded WWE, launched the initial XFL in partnership with US network NBC in 2001, only for it to last one season before collapsing.
The new-look XFL will launch in January 2020 with eight teams across the United States playing a 10-week schedule.
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