Thursday, February 6, 2014

Live blog of A11FL press conference

Good afternoon to those in the Eastern half of the country, and good morning to those in the Western half!

This is the place to go for information and reaction from the A11 Professional Football League's press conference in San Francisco. Keep refreshing the page to stay up-to-date throughout.

(1:17 ET) The league has announced its national television contract with ESPN for the two showcase games this year, and for the first full season in 2015. ESPN has experience televising start-ups such as the United States Football League and the Arena Football League in the 1980s, and the WNBA, so this is not new territory for "The Worldwide Leader in Sports."

(1:19 ET) Six of the eight charter franchises have been announced - the Chicago (Illinois) Staggs, the Bay Area (San Francisco, California) Sea Lions, the Los Angeles (California) Express, the (East Rutherford) New Jersey Generals, the Tampa (Florida) Bay Bandits and the Dallas (Texas) Wranglers. The two additional markets will be announced soon.

(1:22 ET) The A11FL's showcase games this year will be televised live thanks to the league's television contract with ESPN. They will be May 17 in Tampa and June 5 in Dallas.

(1:24 ET) "This country thirsts for more football. The live-action sports' content value has never been higher." No truer words have been spoken. Next year, after the Super Bowl, there will be less than two months before the start of the first A11FL season. Then, shortly after the conclusion of that A11FL season, college and NFL seasons will begin. Great for football fans everywhere!

(1:26 ET) Reporters learning about the A11FL game. One asked about eligible linemen - even though as many as all 11 offensive players could wear traditional eligible uniform numbers on the field at once, five still are considered "restricted linemen."

(1:28 ET) The original USFL's partnership with ESPN is discussed, and the league's ill-fated move to the fall is, as well. The league reiterates that it won't play in the fall - this is a spring professional football league.

(1:29 ET) The name Donald Trump is brought up. Don't worry, A11FL fans - it was not to announce him as an owner.

(1:31 ET) The deal with ESPN is a two-year deal.

(1:32 ET) League is looking at ticket prices around $30, to make them affordable.

(1:34 ET) Question is asked why the A11FL will succeed where others haven't. "We're going to make it affordable. We want this to be available to families, to sports fans, to boys and girls, to those who normally don't get to go to a major league game. There's a lot of things we're offering."

(1:35 ET) "This is a league that's going to be played in some of the biggest media markets. The dynamics of the game...if you are in the right markets with the right sponsorship and the right ownership..."

(1:37 ET) There will not be tryouts for the showcase games. League will go out and sign 100+ players for those games. Four of the league's Head Coaches will coach one team, and four of the league's Head Coaches will coach the other.

(1:39 ET) Talking about the improved safety factor of the A11FL game. Coaches can run any offense they want, but the rule change makes it possible to have more versatile athletes and offensive playbooks.

(1:43 ET) The press conference has concluded. Check back later for more photos and a recap of the press conference.