Kurz enters his fourth season as AFL Commissioner in 2013.
March 22, 2013
Arena Football League Fans,
It is my great honor and privilege to welcome you to the AFL’s 26th season!
I am extremely excited to have the season upon us again. I believe we have accomplished some tremendous things over the last year and are starting off 2013 in a great place.
We’re excited to partner with CBS Sports Network and CBS on a multiyear broadcast contract. Being on Saturday night is a great opportunity for us. As tremendous a partner as NFL Network was for three years, we could only air our games in an 8 p.m. Eastern Time window on Friday nights. That was a challenge for a number of teams and it kept us from being able to give every team national exposure. Now, for the first time in four years, we’ll be able to showcase every team at least once, and half of our nationally televised games feature West Coast teams. In addition, we have an opportunity to partner with other networks to broadcast more games on other nights, which is something we have not been able to do in recent years.
Through our partnership with CBS, we have been able to upgrade our web and streaming platforms. As good as our website and streaming have been, both are going to be so much better this year with the help of CBS Interactive. Fans have always been able to stream our games free of charge online and this year will be no different. However, for the first time in League history, CBS Interactive will also allow us to provide an option for subscription-based streaming in high definition. This is an excellent opportunity to continue to provide even more quality content to fans.
I’m excited to have NET10 Wireless increase their partnership for the 2013 season, becoming the title partner for the League. We’ll have some additional announcements about new partners joining us throughout the season as well.
Last season provided some wonderful opportunities for growth. We launched the AFL Alumni Association and our official fan club, AFL Field Pass, initiatives that will continue to grow and improve in the future. Of course, any time there is growth, there are growing pains. Last season certainly had its share of those as well. However, I believe we’ve learned a great deal from the struggles we’ve faced and we will see a great deal of good come from them. I am as excited as anyone that we have a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the next five years. It is an important step for the League and our players to take.
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 – that are dedicated to doing things the best way they can; the best way for fans, the best way for business and the best way for players. We’ve got an opportunity to hold the ArenaBowl in a landmark Arena Football city and one of the best arenas in the world with the Amway Center in Orlando. We’ve got three teams within driving distance and I’m excited that KISS will be headlining the weekend. Even for those fans who are much younger than I am, everyone knows KISS. It will be great to have them added to our celebration. On top of all that, ArenaBowl XXVI will be broadcast live on CBS. It seems to be a blueprint for success.
Lastly, I would like to thank our fans for being our fans. Last season was, in some ways, a frustrating year for many fans. That’s not what Arena Football is all about. Arena Football is about fast-paced football in intimate and intense environments. It’s about true parity and last-second finishes. It’s about affordable prices and autographs after every game. Most importantly, it’s about the fans. Arena Football fans are the most dedicated and loyal fans in all of sports and we would not exist without your support.
As the 26th season of Arena Football kicks off this weekend, I want to sincerely thank all of our fans, players, coaches, teams, executives and partners for your continued support, dedication and passion for our great game. I wish you and your families the very best and look forward to seeing you throughout the season and in Orlando at ArenaBowl XXVI.
Jerry B. Kurz