The Alliance of American Football (AAF) tried to become a developmental league for the NFL. The problem was that the NFL never helped them out as other sports leagues have. The NBA has its G-league, MLB has its minor leagues system and the NHL has their farm system. There have been many football leagues that have started and almost all have ended. The XFL is trying to make a comeback, and the AAF could look to team up with them. Since there is the Arena football league, Canadian football league, and many other minor league teams it is hard for other football leagues to develop. The AAF tried to be different with their rules; no kickoffs, have to go for two after touchdowns, limited pass rush, and no more onside kicks (onside conversion have to convert a 4th and 12). The Big 3 league has similarities and some key differences than the AAF. The Big 3 has different rules; a 4 point shot, first to 50 wins (have to win by 2), 14-second shot clock. Ice Cube’s league became the first sports league to legalize CBD for athletes to recover. The difference between the leagues is the Big 3 is a new kind of entertainment. The Big 3 is a 3 on 3 basketball league, unlike AAF trying to emerge with a new football league, Ice Cube founded a professional league that doesn’t have much competition. If the AAF wants to become a professional league and be successful they should change to a 7 on 7 leagues.
Another reason the AAF failed is the players they had. Although since the shutdown 30 plus guys from the league sign with an NFL team. The AAF is a developmental league the players were former NFL players, college stars or from other football leagues. Major players were former Heisman winner Trent Richardson, former Viking Matt Asiata and Charles Johnson, former Gopher David Cobb, and recently signed former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. Many notable players in the league were former college QBs. The Big 3 is a bit different they use former NBA stars after their playing career. The first two season you had to be 30 years old, now they lowered it to 27 years old (to prevent injuries problem for the first two seasons). In their first season the Big 3 sign former NBA MVP Allen Iverson who eventually wasn’t fit to play and didn’t show up to a game, and NBA star Jason Williams who got injured on opening night. Signing these big names made fans interested in the league from the start. Other stars still in the league are Nate Robinson, Chauncey Billups, Metta World Peace, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Mike Bibby, Former Timberwolves Rashad McCants, and Rashard Lewis. With the addition of 4 more teams, the league needs more players and they sign many with talent; NBA champion Kendrick Perkins, Gilbert Arenas, Former Timberwolves all-star Al Jefferson, Former number 1 pick Greg Oden, Lamar Odom, former Atlanta Hawks teammates Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Ice Cube is often tweeting at NBA all-stars Shaq, Kobe, Dwayne Wade, and any other player that is retired. The Big 3 with all these former NBA players make fans want to watch the games, compared to a developmental league with many players that fans never heard of.
Reasons it is hard to start and grow a sports league is marketing. The leagues can have the best set up and design but without fans, they are doom to fail. One of the Big 3 first major problems they had to face was the games were played on Facebook watch and FS1 for fans until they reach a deal with CBS for this season. The AAF had a deal with CBS from the start, which is probably a reason they were so far in debt they had to shut down the league. Another reason is the location; Big 3 has no hometown, while the AAF had cities like Orlando, Arizona. For a fan to become a fan of a new team it is easier for a fan to become a fan of the Killer 3’s in the Big 3 league compare to a fan from Minnesota to become a fan of the Arizona Hotshots. Also, the Big 3 is played in major cities around the united states to reach its audience, they grew from one night to Saturday/Sundays now with 12 teams. While the AAF teams are all in the south, after many fans and viewers in week 1 (had more viewers than Rockets vs. Thunder) the numbers just fell and fell. Since the location doesn’t change for the AAF it is hard for the league to reach all of its audience. The last major reason is the timing of the seasons, while everyone loves football a week after the Superbowl wasn’t the best time to start. With college basketball, NHL and NBA approach playoffs, the start of baseball all get in the way for the viewers of AAF games. Also, the weather with rain/snow got fans to get away from the league. Fans are going to watch all those sports teams they have been cheering on for years compared to a new sports league with many players they don’t know about. As we saw with many viewers buying into week 1 the viewers eventually went back to there favorite teams. The Big 3 starts in the summer where there are fewer sports going on and allow fans to go to big arenas to watch there favorite former NBA All-stars. The AAF average attendance was around 18,000 compared to Big 3 first season was sold out. The social media use of the Big 3 is one of their biggest strengths you can often see tweets from Big 3 league for the news update, players signing, game recaps. Ice cube also tweets often, replies to people and is very good at interacting with the fans. The AAF I didn’t sense the same from, other then the game updates from each individual team, there wasn’t much fans interaction. The AAF was a good idea with some bad planning, they needed to reach an agreement with the NFL before the season, and have better planning, Good luck to the XFL and other football leagues starting up. Make sure to watch the Big 3 league this summer with the CBS deal, as well as growing the league and RIP to the AAF.