AFL may expand to Atlantic City
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Arena Football League had just four teams in the league this past season. And the team with the worst regular-season record, the Washington Valor, won the ArenaBowl.
However, there’s been speculation that more teams will be added this off-season. There’s also speculation that the Cleveland Gladiators and the Tampa Bay Storm may return to the league, as well.
One potential location for a new team is in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ron Jaworski, who has a high-ranking role within the AFL, will meet with officials next week, according to a Press of Atlantic City story.
“It’s going to happen,” Ron Jaworski said in the story. “There are a lot of moving parts to it, but I’m confident we can get the local support to put a team there. As everyone knows, I’ve been bullish on the Atlantic City market for a long time. We’re going to make it work.”
Jaworski is a majority owner of the Philadelphia Soul and part-owner of the Albany Empire. Jaws, as he’s commonly known, and Ted Leonsis, are hoping to bring a team to the area.
Leonsis, who owns the Valor and the Baltimore Brigade, who played each other in the ArenaBowl in July, and Jaws are targeting a team in Atlantic City because of the potential link to sports betting. Bally’s Wild Wild West, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Harrah’s Resort and Ocean Resort Casino now offer on-site sports betting.
DraftKings and Resorts Casino Hotel launches a partnership on August 1st to bring sports betting online.
“(Legalized sports betting) is a new frontier for professional sports, and teams who don’t seize on this opportunity will be left behind,” Leonsis wrote on his blog in May. “It’s not hard to imagine in the near future fans on their devices analyzing data, placing bets and communicating with each other in real time during games. Legalized sports betting will only bring fans closer to the game, ramping up the action in each minute and creating more intensity.”
Like Leonsis, Jaws agrees that sports betting could help the league. Sports betting will eventually be offered in all 50 states, as May’s ground-breaking ruling has changed the game.
“When the league was first talking about expanding, Atlantic City was one of the top three contenders because of sports betting,” Jaworski said. “Sports betting is a game-changer.”
Jaws previously brought the Arena Football League to the Boardwalk Hall, where the new expansion team would likely play. In May 2015, the Soul defeated the Las Vegas Outlaws 51-43 in the now defunct DraftKings Boardwalk Bowl game at Boardwalk Hall.