Our sister station in Denver, KCNC, is reporting that the Arena Football League is in danger of shutting down after 22 years in business. Players have been told to expect news, one way or the other, by Dec. 19.
Denver's local franchise, the Colorado Crush, has told its players that if the AFL survives, it will be part of that mix and will field a team.
The possibility of the AFL collapsing leaves free agent players like Brad Pyatt and Anthony Dunn in limbo since their signing dates were pushed back.
"As a player it's frustrating because we're just hearing speculation, we hear the league is folding, then we hear it's not," said Brad Pyatt, one free agent.
"For it to just out of the blue, fold, it's just unbelievable, it says a lot about where the economy is going," said Anthony Dunn, another free agent.
The AFL has been in business since 1987. The Colorado Crush, co-owned by former Denver Broncos great John Elway, has been part of the league since 2003.
The league makes money on attendance and sponsorships. Sports attorney Pat Linden said both have suffered in the current economy.
"You're looking at two sources, whether it be sponsorship revenues as well as ticket revenues that are also taking a hit in this environment so it's sort of a double whammy," Linden said.
The potential deal that could resurrect the league involves the Platinum Equity Group, which is considering a significant stake in the league.
The AFL said it is working on long term improvements which have unfortunately delayed important events, such as the release of the 2009 schedule, the dispersal draft and the beginning of free agency.
"We'll do whatever it takes to make the league work, so if it's a pay cut that needs to happen, then we all do that," said Kyle Moore-Brown, a lineman for the Crush and a board member with the player's union.
Crush players were told last season went well for the franchise with good attendance and revenue, but other teams are struggling.
Rumors amongst players say seven teams are in, seven teams are on the fence and three are out.
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