Alliance of American Football Leaving Las Vegas as Championship Game Moves to Frisco, Texas
Posted on: March 24, 2019, 01:00h.
Last updated on: March 23, 2019, 12:25h.
The upstart Alliance of American Football has announced that it will be moving its championship game from Las Vegas to Frisco, Texas, in a sign that the new league is moving closer to a working relationship with the NFL.
The championship for the eight-team league was originally slated to be played in Sam Boyd Stadium, home of the UNLV Rebels.
Jones Welcomes AAF to Cowboys Practice Home
Now, the game will instead be played at the Ford Center at The Star, which is the practice arena for the Dallas Cowboys.
The new venue is owned by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who expressed excitement at bringing the new league’s championship to one of his stadiums.
“The Alliance has built a foundation of high-quality football, revolutionary technology and world-class partnerships with the NFL, CBS, and Turner Sports,” Jones said in a statement. “It was only natural that we at the Cowboys organization would want to join that great group of partners. I have always believed that our great game of football could use a league to give players the shot they needed to make it to the NFL, and Bill Polian, Tom Dundon and Charlie Ebersol have done just that.”
Polian and Ebersol co-founded the AAF, while Dundon – the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes – became chairman of the AAF after making a major investment into the league last month.
Alliance Sees Opportunity in NFL Relationship
The move encouraged plenty of speculation about why the AAF would change venues for its April 27 championship game. But while attendance figures at AAF games haven’t been great, the move to a smaller stadium seems motivated more about building ties with the NFL than worries about filling Sam Boyd Stadium, which seats 36,000 fans.
“To have the championship in the Dallas Cowboys’ facility immediately following the NFL Draft was an opportunity we could not pass up,” Ebersol told ESPN. “The reception we have received in Texas has been tremendous, in many ways exceeding our expectations, and holding the biggest game of our inaugural season there will be an incredible experience for players, fans and the league.”
The AAF’s only Texas-based team has proven to be its most popular franchise so far. In two home games, the San Antonio Comanders have averaged more than 28,000 fans, far more than any other team in the league. Overall, the average announced attendance at AAF games has been just over 15,000.
According to the league, all fans who purchased tickets for the championship game in Las Vegas will receive full refunds, and those who want to head to Sin City that weekend will still be treated to AAF events.
“When this idea came up, we spoke with our Vegas partners…to explain why we thought the move was ultimately in the best interest of the league, and they were understanding,” Ebersol told ESPN. “Las Vegas and Sam Boyd have been phenomenal partners, and we look forward to bringing many more future events to the city.”
Heading into Week 7 of the AAF season, the 5-1 Orlando Apollos were seen as the favorite to win the AAF championship, with Bovada offering +120 odds on Orlando walking away with the first ever league title.
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