AFL Renames Conference Championship Trophies
Thursday May 22, 2014
CHICAGO – The Arena Football League Board of Directors unanimously voted this week to rename the League’s conference championship trophies after two of the sports founding fathers.
Teams in the East and South Divisions will now be competing for the William L. Niro American Conference Championship Trophy, while teams in the West and Pacific Divisions will vie for the Jerry B. Kurz National Conference Championship Trophy.
Both Niro and Kurz, along with Arena Football inventor Jim Foster, were founding members of Gridiron Enterprises, Inc., a sports consulting firm based out of Chicago, Ill. which established the team-owned AFL. The ArenaBowl Championship Trophy was rechristened the James F. Foster Trophy in 2004.
Niro represented Foster in the formation of the Arena Football League in 1987. He also managed the business, legal and financial affairs of the League from 1989-1992. He organized and co-managed (with Foster and Kurz) AFL preview games in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Barcelona and eight other cities in Spain between the years of 1989-1996. He also spent 20 years on the AFL Board of Directors from 1990-2010 and still dedicates his time and effort to the organization he helped build. Niro was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2012.
Kurz, who is in his fifth year as Commissioner of the AFL, has been involved with Arena Football for 28 years. He served as the League’s Vice President of International Development from 1987-2008, promoting and conducting 21 international AFL games, and was responsible for administering the H3 Visa Program, allowing international players to play for AFL teams stateside. He also served five seasons as President of the af2 developmental league. Kurz was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Inaugural Class in 1998.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2014 season. The AFL schedule culminates with ArenaBowl XXVII Saturday, August 23, 2014 on ESPN.