Arena Football League announces 16-team return in 2024

The Arena Football League is set to return in 2024.
The Arena Football League is set to return in 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arena Football League is officially back.

The AFL announced on Wednesday that it will officially return in 2024.

The league, which was most recently shut down in 2019, will have 16 teams and will play a 10-game season. Specifics about those teams are not yet known.

“We are elated to come out of hibernation and make this announcement official,” AFL president Anthony Rossi said in a statement. “Our objective when we acquired the AFL was to bring back a storied brand that deserved to be revived and showcased again, globally. We envisioned executing on the old saying ‘Bigger and Better,’ but this time, we want to incorporate the components of a modern-day business — streaming, betting, technology, virtual reality, and immerse fan engagement mixed with good old-fashioned ironman football … We believe we have assembled a world-class, operational team made up of C-Suite executives, expert sport trainers, football personnel, performance facilities, legal partners, professional team owners and former athletes.”

The AFL played its first season in 1987. After the 2009 season was canceled due to financial issues, it was relaunched in 2010 — though it continued to shrink until its final season ended in 2019 with just six teams. The Albany Empire won the ArenaBowl that season.

The league is the latest spring football league to surface, or resurface, in recent years. The United States Football League returned last spring. The XFL is set to return this month, too, after Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined the ownership group following its last attempt in 2020.