Friday, March 22, 2013

Kurtz State Of The League Address: Two Expansion Teams

As you may or may not know, every year the AFL commissioner gives a state of the league address where he talks about what has happened to the league such as the TV deal with CBS, the CBA settlement, and other things. What caught my eye is this little bit regarding expansion:
As we head into the 2013 season, I am as pleased as I possibly could be with our direction. We’ve got 14 markets now – and another two expansion teams on the horizon for next year –
 Now as far as I know one of the two expansion markets is New York which would play in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. It'll be interesting to see which city is rewarded with the second expansion team as it would give the league an even 16 teams which works very well in the 4 division set-up the league currently has.

Current AFL alignment:
National Conference
West
Arizona
Spokane
San Jose
Utah

South
Jacksonville
New Orleans
Orlando
Tampa Bay

American Conference
Central
Chicago
Iowa
San Antonio

East
Pittsburgh
Philadelphia
Cleveland

Since New York is confirmed you can pretty much put them in the East division which leaves one spot in the Central to be filled in. Cities that could fill that position would be in no particular order Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, St. Louis, Nashville, Denver, Oklahoma City, Houston, & Dallas.

Of course if they move Cleveland to the Central then you'd have room for another East Coast city of which would include in no particular order: Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Charlotte, & Virginia Beach.

They could also move New Orleans to the Central if a team from Atlanta or Miami show up but that's highly unlikely as I doubt the league would go back to a city that just had a team fold or make it so 1/4 of the league is in Florida.

Lastly if they gave a team to Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, or Las Vegas, then Utah or Arizona could be bumped to the Central just to keep the divisions even.

Of course all of this hangs on the basis that no teams move or fold after the season like Kansas City, Georgia, & Milwaukee did this past off-season.

With the possibility that FOX and NBC joins the ranks of TV partners, it might be possible that the league could expand even further than the original two after 2014 if everything works out right which would throw the current alignment out the window. The AFL should greatly benefit from the live sports war that's currently going on between the 4 major networks as I doubt they would be in the position they are in without it.