Football fans who are excited for the A11 Professional Football League to kick off won’t have to wait until March of 2015.
That’s because the league will stage a pair of showcase games in late spring this year in two charter markets to whet the appetite of those who can’t get enough football during the traditional fall/winter season.
The first showcase game will be Saturday, May 17, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and the second will be Thursday, June 5, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Both games will be televised nationally live on ESPN2, as part of the A11FL’s two-year contract with ESPN.
“Our biggest objective with the showcase games is that we want to show the highest quality play of spring football to the fans during the time of the year in which our league will be playing,” said A11FL Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer Scott McKibben. “We want to start educating people about the idea that a year from now, you will be able to see regular spring football played at the highest professional level.
“We are also using this to develop and promote our relationship with ESPN. These games will be played on this network. It’s kind of a dual objective.”
The two teams that will play in the showcase games are yet to be named.
“We are going to go with A11-branded uniforms,” McKibben said. “These will be teams playing in dark jerseys and light jerseys. Everything will be branded A11. We will, at some point, announce the names of these two teams. They are not going to be team names of teams in our markets. We will pick names just for these two particular games. We’re looking at this from a number of different angles.”
There also will be no preference on rosters to the two home states of the showcase games.
“We’re going to try to just get the 150 best players,” said McKibben. “We will, over the course of the first three weeks, narrow it down to the final 40 (for each team). There isn’t any particular geographic interest. We want the best players who can put the best product out on the field we can.”
Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998, and has been the home of the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers since then. It also is the home to the South Florida football team and the Outback Bowl. Its capacity is 65,890, and it has a grass surface.
The venerable Cotton Bowl has been around since 1930, but most recently was renovated in 2008. It is the home of the annual Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma, was the home of the annual Cotton Bowl Classic until 2009, and now plays host to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Its capacity is 92,100, and it, too, has a grass surface.
For tickets to one or both of the showcase games, call 855-897-4211, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.