LIVESTREAM: American Football Kicks Off 2016 Season In Poland

The Polish League of American Football (PLFA) kicks off the 2016 this weekend. Seven teams will battle to dethrone the Gdynia Seahawks, winners of the past two American football titles in Poland.

In fact, the Seahawks will face their first test on Saturday as they take on the Primacol Bialystok Lowlanders. This will be no easy task. The Lowlanders finished right behind Gdynia in the regular season in 2015 and then were bounced in the semifinals by the Seahawks.

However, Bialystok has loaded up adding linebacker Mike Kagafas from Swedish finalists the Orebro Black Knights and linebacker Michael Hall to an already stacked roster. Jabari Harris returns to help coach the team which showed the most improvement in the league in 2015.

Poland - Gdynia Seahawks opening game poster 2016

But having won three of the last four Polish championships, Gdynia will not come to the game unprepared. This should be a great game to watch.

Watch the Gdynia Seahawks and Bialystok Lowlanders live: Saturday, April 2. Kickoff: 5:20 PM (11:20 AM EDT)

The Wroclaw Panthers, who recently had a successful scrimmage against the defending Swiss champions, the Calanda Broncos, will face the Husaria Szczecin in their opening game of the season.

Husaria finished out of the playoffs in 2015 with a 4-6 record and could be in tough against perennial finalist the Panthers.

Poland - Husaria v Panthers 2016 poster

The Warsaw Sharks who finished last with a 1-9 record last year will play host to the Poznan Kozly in the third game of the Polish opening weekend. The Sharks look to be a much-improved team in 2016 having signed Tony Simmons as head coach. Simmons, a former NFL and CFL receiver has been successful in Europe coaching and playing and has brought in some talented players including Giorgio Bryant at quarterback.

Poland - Warsaw Sharks gameday poster 2016

The Warsaw Eagles who have boosted their roster as well are idle and open their schedule the following weekend against the Lowlanders.

Watch the Warsaw Sharks and Poznan Kozly live: Sunday, April 3. Kickoff 1:40 PM (7:40 AM EDT)

Football growing in popularity in Poland

American football is growing wildly popular in Poland, enjoying perhaps the fastest growth in Europe. The Polish championship game attendance has averaged 20,000 to 30,000 over the past three years rivaling any major football country in the world outside of the North America.

The title game is always nationally televised with a broadcast almost at a par with North American standards. This season will be no different as the game grows and improves in this Central European country.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.