However, Arena Football could take things a step further.
The Chinese Arena Football League—which is made up of teams composed half of Chinese players and half of foreign (mostly American) players—is changing its schedule to the spring to run concurrently with the U.S.-based Arena Football League, which has previously played exhibition games in China (a 2013 one is shown above, via CAFLfootball.com).
Mr. Judge remarked, “I have always dreamed of a true World Championship for professional arena football. By moving our CAFL season to the spring, we will mirror the season of the United States AFL, the 30-year established leaders in the sport, which could make that game possible.”
The hope is the move would demonstrate and validate arena football as an international game and to eventually become an Olympic sport. The CRFA believes the concurrent seasons will build enthusiasm for the sport of arena football and the anticipation of the international championship game will be positive for the league’s economics. The CAFL represents a significant part of China’s sports industry growth concept.
While such a concept is probably still a ways off, this would be a cool way to get the game to go international. One-off games provide excitement, but an annual game between the Chinese champion and the U.S. champion could provide additional intrigue. However, there’s nothing confirmed here yet, and the Arena Football League itself is facing some challenges; three teams left for the rival Indoor Football League this offseason, while two others folded, and the league only got back up to five teams thanks to two expansion franchises. We’ll see if this China-U.S. game ever happens, but if it does, it might help grow the sport overseas.