The AFL tomorrow
Growing up right
What’s going on in the office meetings between the franchise owners and the league office?
We think of AFL success as a game won by massive and furious football players and run by business people that control things.
On the field or in the office, forces outside of those involved control this sport as they do every other spectator venture in human history.
Nothing in the Arena Football League is more important than tomorrow.
And I don’t mean ArenaBowl XXII.
That the two best teams in the league are matched up for Sunday’s championship game will not mean anything unless next year and ten years from now we are still comparing championship games.
The AFL has done well since its inception, but stands at the crossroads of a tomorrow that must be traveled in the right direction.
The fans of tomorrow are learning how to walk, talk and cheer today.
They need to be playing with a tan football with long blue stripes.
Outside of the Arena, who is noticing the AFL? Obviously ESPN is a positive thing, but believe it or not, not everyone watches ESPN.
When owners and league sponsors get together for their power talks, just what are they talking about? They don’t appear to be concerned about the future.
“My friend told me about Arena Football,” said nine-year old Evan, “His dad has tickets to the games and they brought me. I liked the fireworks at the start of the game and our team won the game.”
I didn’t know what Arena Football was, but a friend of ours has season tickets and took our son,” said Evan’s mom Julain. “He talked about that game for days afterward.”
Why hadn’t Julain known about “Arena Football?” It’s been around for more than two-decades.
Getting another franchise into the league is not as important as making the AFL and the existing franchises a household word. The AFL has gone far on “word of mouth,” but that is going to go only so far.
“I want to be an Arena Football player,” said ten-year old Pop Warner player Noah. “I like that I can give autographs to the fans after the games. I asked my mom if I could have my birthday party this year at a Rush game. They won the game.”
After the Rush lost in the playoffs to Grand rapids Noah was there from start to finish he said. “Next year I’ll be here too,” continued Noah, “You can’t win every game right? My team lost sometimes and I don’t want to quit.”
“For days I couldn’t get him to stop talking about the Rush game we went to,” said Noah’s mom. “Even after the playoff loss he was just as excited about the game.”
If Noah can’t find a job as a player, he’d make a great coach with that attitude. I’m thinking a front office job may be appropriate as well.
“I started watching the AFL because my uncle Ryan had NIU football players working for him,” said DeKalb High School student Hayes Tiglar. “At the time I met Matt McGhghy, who went on to play in the AFL for the Los Angles Avengers. I liked the AFL and have been watching it ever since.”
Hayes listed other players he has followed in the AFL including Rashied Davis (Hayes is a Bears fan) and Bobby Sippio that have went elsewhere to play professional football.
“I watch a lot of Rush games because the AFL runs at a different time than the NFL season. I like both leagues and feel I am as much a Rush fan as I am a Bears fan.”
From elementary age to high school, folks, that is the future talking.
The point being:
Everything in the Arena Football League has got to focus on reaching people with the news that Arena Football is here, has been for a long time, and is worth every minute of their time.
It’s going to take a heck of a lot more than just a TV contract with ESPN.
There is a reason posters hang on the walls of children coast to coast. And notice that posters are hanging on the walls of stores, clubs and retail sports venues everywhere they exist.
Smell the coffee?
Passing it on
In the age of infinite choices, our youth culture still likes winning and winners. Boys and girls still like running around and having fun, but when it comes to sports, you just can’t dumb that down.
You win, you lose, and for anyone involved with sports, losing is just another place to find hope in winning. That is why “repeating” is so important.
In business, if you don’t repeat, you lose forever. There is no next year.
The AFL is not meeting its potential. The “product” is there, but the words and deeds about the AFL are not.
How many of our sponsors have the AFL mentioned anywhere else but in the AFL?
I’ve been to the mall, sporting goods stores, (other places), and I have been out looking for a new car, I have not seen anything about the AFL highlighted by our sponsors in their world.
Comprende? Savvy? Understand . . . what I’m hinting at?
Meet and greet
Teams will succeed with a two-strategy.
They will have a solid committed “team” from ownership, to coaches and players and they will have a fan base that can be counted on.
Everything else flows from there.
If anyone can show me any other way to succeed in sports, I’ll mention leagues we have forgotten already. I’ll have to research them, but believe me there are too many to count.
We are Americans, and forget losers and losing faster than we do anything else.
Do you really need an MBA to know what succeeds and what fails in “business?”
It may not hurt, but you need passion, common sense and a good product driving those goals too.
And seeing where the AFL is right now as a solid product, I would go with common sense and passion over an 8 x 10 hanging on the wall behind some suit-wearing businessman involved with the league.
Arena Football is where it is because “someone” is not paying attention to “overall” success. The AFL is far too good not to be known far and wide, far more than it is today.
In the “business of sports,” nothing can beat a “product” that people desire to be involved in. The AFL is only a partial success story, but the plot has yet to be written in full.
The iPod has not changed human nature. Laptops and cell phones are only included in winning and losing. They can’t do anything to override natural law.
And in football there is wining and there is losing. In-between winning and losing is only time and what you do with that time. Losing, is only an opportunity for losses to be contemplated and success to be the focus of all things future.
It all comes down to how you use the time given to you for success.
Winners use their time well.
We need mention nothing else.