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Arena Football League facing economic challenges, possible shutdown

Depending on who you talk to, the Arena Football League is in desperate need of capital and could collapse before the end of the year.
It is a league known for flashy game presentations, loud music and a hyper-aggressive atmosphere.

But things are relatively quiet on one level, as officials with the Arena Football League scramble to put together a deal to ensure the survival of the circuit. During these unsure economic times, that may be a huge challenge.

Officials with the Columbus and Colorado teams say the economic model for the league is broken, a sentiment echoed earlier this year by New Orleans VooDoo owner Tom Benson when he shut down the team’s operations. A sale of 40 percent of the league for $100 million fell through last week, leading to the current state of crisis.

In response, the league offered the following in a statement:

"The AFL is working on long-term structural improvements which have unfortunately delayed some events, such as the release of the 2009 schedule, the dispersal draft, and the beginning (of) free agency. We ask our fans to be patient a little longer while we finalize our long-term improvements."

Then again, there’s one big fact to consider: the league has not released a 2009 schedule. And the AFL season begins in March.

More from the San Jose Mercury News. Officials with the Orlando Predators — one of the more solid franchises — say they’re surprised. More from the Kansas City Star. More from News9.