Three of the AAF’s opening games were played in cities that don’t have nearby NFL teams. One was played in Tempe, Arizona, which is only 10 miles from Phoenix. Which is where the NFL’s Cardinals play.
And hardly anyone showed up for Sunday night’s debut of the Arizona Hotshots.
“I’m so thankful for the people who were here,” Hotshots coach Rick Neuheisel said after the game, via dead-bat-in-the-press-box-dodging Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “This was a hastily put-together deal. In terms of the marketing in the individual cities, that’s a relatively Johnny-come-lately deal. Hopefully, as the old saying goes, they’ll tell a friend.”
Well, Johnny-come-lately, there’s a new kid in town. To whom no one is paying attention. And that could have something to do with the fact that the town is already serviced by the NFL.
If so, that doesn’t bode well for the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, who were blown out in Orlando on Saturday night and who make their home debut in two weeks. It also doesn’t bode well for the XFL, which deliberately selected seven NFL cities for its eight franchises under the assumption that the existing NFL fanbase will translate.
In Arizona, it didn’t. And it may not get any better.