New Chinese American Football League to Kick-off in 2015

AFL’s Philadelphia Soul co-owner announces new league in China!

Regardless of the political and economic tensions between the U.S. and China, a new American football league is coming to the Far East. The Chinese sports authorities have formally approved the creation of the country’s first American football league.

The league has been created by U.S. businessman Marty Judge and his Beijing-based company, Ganlan Media International (GMI), along with the Chinese Rugby Football Association (CRFA). It is to be known as the China American Football League (CAFL). Judge’s partners in the project include former NFL MVP and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski and future Hall-of-Fame coach Dick Vermeil.

China American Football League

The China American Football League (CAFL) will kick-off its first season in 2015, with six to eight teams in two conferences. The teams will be based in China’s major cities. The league with follow the arena-style format of the game, played indoors which the CRFA experts think best suits the Chinese fan base due to its faster pace, higher scoring and “close-to-the-fans” entertainment, which is similar to the highly successful Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). However, this might be because China has few large outdoor stadiums that are typical to traditional American football.

The fee for  initial franchise owners of CAFL teams is $10 million per team and will receive a portion of TV-licensing rights.

Marty Judge is Philadelphia-based, American businessman who is co-owner of the Arena League’s Philadelphia Soul, a professional arena football team. See him below this morning on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box” introducing the concept.

American Football Set to Take Off in China

League creator Marty Judge has been working intensely on this this venture for many  years. Says an enthusiastic Judge,

“It’s possible that someday the CAFL could be bigger in China than the NFL is [in the U.S.]. Here there are 330 million people. In China there are 1.4 billion people, four times the number here…. With the backing of the Chinese government, the sky is the limit for how we can grow American football in the vast, untapped Chinese marketplace.”

Judge believes the game is set to expand beyond China and could will continue to spread throughout Asia and Australia, where the combined population totals 3.8 billion people, possibly expanding his league to 30 teams.

Judge and his partners have reason to be confident in their investment. “China is going through a cultural change,” said Judge. “They have the money to spend and a fast-growing interest in sports, especially American sports. They don’t have a professional sport like American football, a contact sport, and they are very receptive to what the CAFL will provide.”

What do you think? Is American football set to explode across China and it’s huge population? Is arena football, a vastly different game from traditional American football, the answer to crossing this cultural barrier?

Tell us what you think!

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.