After the 2009 season, rumors were flying across the country about the future of the arenafootball2 (af2) league. With the bankruptcy of the parent Arena Football League (AFL), the af2 was seen as a huge asset that could be sold to offset part of the outstanding debts owed by the AFL.
In response, the owners and President of the af2 bolted.
Jerry Kurz and Bill Niro, both instrumental in the development of Arena Football, left the af2 Chicago office in search of a new home.
Tulsa, Okla. was the destination.
Now, Tulsa will house the league offices of the newly formed Arena Football One league.
While the league may sound like an offshoot of the AFL, it is not. Or is it?
The AF1 announced 16 teams would begin the 2010 season in April. But the announcement may have come too soon.
Within a month, the Tri Cities Fever, Kentucky Horsemen, and Central Valley Coyotes all reneged on their commitment to play in 2010.
But the AF1 did not fret. As former AFL franchises Arizona, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Cleveland have all joined the AF1 in a sense. There will be teams in these markets and they will sport the former AFL team names.
Arena Football One bought the assets of the former AFL for 6.1 million dollars and now own all rights to any of the properties previously owned by the now defunct league.
With the name change of the league, the Tennessee Valley Vipers have also re-branded their team name. The Vipers will now be known as the Alabama Vipers.
The change comes as the league will mandate in the future that a team must utilize a city or state, rather than a region to name their franchise.
The team complied with the rule, although it is believed the Vipers could have been grandfathered in and remained Tennessee Valley.
With the change, the Vipers will now become the Arena Football team of Alabama and hopefully be able to draw fans from across the state.
The AF1 will feature a schedule of 16 games amongst 15 teams.
Alabama will open their season at former af2 franchise Bossier-Shreveport on April 3rd. The home opener is Friday, April 9th against the Jacksonville Sharks.