All the mysteries and rumors surrounding the arena football world may be related to each other in one big plan. It appears the Arena Football League (AFL) will be folding as they can't come to an agreement with the CBA. If the AFL does close up shop those four teams could join the National Arena League (NAL). The AFL shutting down could mean a chance to revive it with a new business model...but on the west coast.
In November, the San Jose SaberCats tweeted a response to someone who asked if they were coming back replying not yet, but that there'd be more information after the first of the year. This reply created some buzz speculating they may be joining the IFL or even joining a new league. You may ask what new league? A rumor has been going around that a new west coast based league is forming.
Last August, Tucson, AZ-based group Integrity Sports Management tweeted out they were getting close to an announcement about having an arena football franchise there. However, as of late January it appears the group is pursuing a franchise in the new XFL. In December, a new Las Vegas franchise named the Cobras surfaced. The Cobras are said to be exploring the Indoor Football League (IFL) and Champions Indoor Football (CIF) for 2019. The Idaho Horsemen are also deciding between the IFL and CIF for 2019. Ever since the Portland Thunder were taken over by the AFL and rebranded the Steel it was rumored the Thunder could come back as an IFL franchise in 2018 if the AFL's Steel folded. The Thunder would be able to do this since Terry Emmert, owner of the Thunder bought the trademark so the league had to rebrand the team when they took over. Later on, it was then rumored Terry Emmert was in talks with the IFL to bring the Thunder in, but nothing ultimately came of this.
The Arizona Rattlers, who currently compete in the Indoor Football League (IFL) could be part of this, as well. After joining the IFL they knocked off the six-time defending United Bowl champion Sioux Falls Storm. The Storm, along with the Wichita Falls Nighthawks tried joining Champions Indoor Football (CIF) after last season. In the CIF, the West Michigan Ironmen and Bloomington Edge had signed on for the 2018 season but then left for the IFL. This led to a lawsuit by the CIF for breach of contract. The Storm ended up rejoining the IFL while the Nighthawks ceased operations. During all this it was stated at one point how Arizona's coach, Kevin Guy was frustrated after the IFL lost teams, just like what happened in the AFL which caused them to join the IFL. Additionally, the Rattlers are quite a ways from the other IFL franchises which begs the question could they be a founding member of a new west coast based AFL?
One last rumor to note is how the current AFL mentioned Sacramento as an expansion target. Even though nothing came of Sacramento, could they be one of the teams in a new west coast based AFL?
All these things make you wonder if there's a group of owners on the west coast waiting for the current AFL to close up shop so they can revive it with a new business model.