Auto workers are far from the only ones being shit on by this economic storm that continues to tear through the nation. Now, we can also count professional football players among the unemployed.
According to Ad Age:
The Arena Football League — generally regarded as one of the better-run leagues in the country, with a salary cap and cooperation from the players, a fat TV contract with ESPN and high-profile owners such as rock star Jon Bon Jovi — was forced to cancel its 2009 season today due to the sluggish economy.
That a viable pro-sports league would have to cancel a season is actually quite surprising, and a further indication of the devastating effects of the economy. The 22-year old AFL — with 16 teams across the country — averaged a league-record 13,000 fans per game for the 2008 season, which was won by the team Mr. Bon Jovi co-owns, the Philadelphia Soul. TV viewership on Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN2 was up 12%, year over year.
The AFL had a cadre of strong sponsors, including Russell Athletic, Miller Lite, Aaron’s Rents, Discover Card, and ESPN, which also had a minor financial stake in the league. ESPN, which will have to fill a void in programming, declined to comment.
ESPN left speechless? Has that ever happened before?