The Alliance of American Football: 2 Decisions I’ve Disagreed With

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Introduction

In last month’s blog (https://wearetribu.com/the-alliance-of-american-football/) I looked at 5 business/marketing decisions by the all new Alliance of American Football (AAF) I’ve really liked. Today I want to focus on two decisions I’ve disagreed with and why.

Background

The AAF is a brand new spring developmental football league with eight teams across the country, including San Antonio.

Through seven weeks, the league has really impressed me. The on-field product is solid and quite entertaining. As a Texas Aggie, I’ve enjoyed seeing old A&M players suit up for a second chance at football fame.

As a marketer and “business of sports” guy, I’ve been paying close attention to the league’s business decisions and analyzing if the league has what it takes to survive long-term.

Today I want to look at 2 big decisions by the AAF I’ve disagreed with.

2 Decisions by the AAF I’ve Disagreed With

1) Publicly Stating the League is in Jeopardy

On March 27th, league majority owner Tom Dundon said the AAF was at risk of being discontinued without the support of the NFL and NFLPA.

“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” said Dundon, who invested $250 million into the league in February. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”


This statement doesn’t sit well with me on two levels:

  • From a PR standpoint, even if the statement is true (which I don’t believe it is), it’s never a good idea to express worry about a league folding. Image and perception matter – this statement portrays the league as unstable to fans, the media, and players.
  • If it is true, and the league is seriously considering whether or not to fold, then I don’t understand why it would gamble so much on the NFL’s early involvement or not. Surely the AAF knows, even in the rosiest of scenarios, that the NFL wouldn’t pull the trigger on such a massive partnership within seven weeks of the league kicking off. Things take time. I don’t blame the NFL at all for being prudent before making such a massive decision.

2) Moving the League Championship to Frisco, Texas

In a surprising move, the league announced their championship game would be moved to Frisco, Texas, away from Las Vegas, to be played at the Dallas Cowboys’ Ford Center.

 

Don’t get me wrong, the Ford Center is a beautiful facility, but the fact it only has a capacity of 12,000 is a dealbreaker to me. It just doesn’t make sense to me that a regular season San Antonio Commanders game can be played in front of 30,000 people, but the championship game will be played in front of 12,000 folks.

It’s wrong on two fronts:

  • It makes the AAF look bad. Casual observers tuning into the championship game won’t be impressed that the league’s biggest game will be played at such a small facility.
  • It’s a disservice to the fans. There’s tons and tons of fans that won’t be able to attend simply because there aren’t enough seats.

I hope you all enjoyed my blog series on decisions by the AAF I’ve liked and disagreed with. I can’t wait to see how the AAF does in the years ahead. Go Commanders!

Photo Credit: The Alliance of American Football

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