Tough times in the world of sport

The NFL, NBA,NASCAR, and MLB Interactive* have all cut jobs. The NHL and MLB have hiring freezes in place while MLB went a step further and cut vacation time.

The Arena Football League has gone even further by canceling the 2009 season citing financial difficulties and the need for a new business model.

Believe it or not the AFL has been around for 22 seasons. The owners sound optimistic about being able to play in 2010 however others are not.

The interesting part is that the AFL seemed to be gaining some traction. Attendance and ratings have been up with a year old ESPN deal yet some teams, like the New Orleans Voodoo had already folded before the announcement of the cancellation.

Being with a sports organization, what intrigues me about these layoffs, hiring freezes and canceled seasons is what’s going.

The NBA only cut US jobs and still expects to grow internationally. The NFL, while nixing plans to play a preseason game in China next season have already announced another game in London for next year and played a preseason game in Toronto.

The AFL however signed over all of their interactive opportunities to ESPN in a 5 year deal that covered Internet, radio, publishing, and international distribution. All big growth areas for the league.

Hopefully the AFL plays football again just for the players sake.

*(MLB Interactive was spun off by MLB a few years ago and runs other web sites including MLSnet.com and ICE Network)

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