So what’s the verdict on the Alliance of American Football? It seems there’s a substantial percentage of people who are willing to at least give it a chance.
The AAF, the newest professional outdoor football league, made its debut last weekend. It’s been a long time since a second professional football league gained any traction in the U.S. But the AAF is coming at it with a different approach, basically advertising itself as a developmental league for the NFL rather than a competitor.
I was curious whether people were interested in watching, especially in the Pacific Northwest where there isn’t a team. Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers about their interest level in the AAF. Here’s how you responded:
POLL: What is your interest level in the Alliance of American Football, the new pro outdoor league that launched over the weekend? Full context here: https://t.co/SWgJwu0m8x
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) February 11, 2019
Add the two together and 42 percent of the responders said they would take a peek at the AAF, but that it would be well down the priority list. An equal number of voters — 29 percent — said they were watching, or that they weren’t interested.
That means 71 percent of the responders said they had at least some interest in the AAF.
I should address the fact that the voting was so different between the Twitter poll and the blog poll. I can’t tell you for certain why there’s such a large discrepancy in the numbers, with blog voters showing far more enthusiasm for the AAF. But I suspect it comes down to the probability that the people who were willing to slog through 20 inches of introductory copy to get to the poll would have been predisposed toward the AAF in the first place.
Yet even in the Twitter poll alone more than 50 percent of the voters said they were at least willing to take a peek, so there is interest in the league.
The question is whether there’s enough interest for the league to sustain itself. For the most part the reviews of the first week were positive, with AAF games getting higher television ratings than the NBA and many media members complimenting the league for its level of play and faster pace. On the other hand, there were images like this one from Arizona:
Sun Devil Stadium in the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/pVUku1zTev
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) February 11, 2019
This weekend we’ll get another clue toward the viability of the AAF. In Week 1 two of the games were televised by CBS, but there are no network broadcasts the remainder of the season, so what will the TV ratings be like on premium cable channels and streaming services? We’re also past the grand-opening stage, so was the Week 1 interest genuine, or was it just a matter of checking out the new thing?
And there is some tangential impact on the Puget Sound region. Seattle is slated to be the home of one of the franchises in the rebooted XFL, which starts play next year. What would success/failure of the AAF indicate for the possible success/failure of the XFL?
I guess I came away from this with more questions than answers.
From a local participation standpoint, Archbishop Murphy High School graduate Taniela Tupou had a solid start to his AAF career. We’ll be keeping an eye on our local players throughout the course of the season.