UK American Football has had a number of instances of people try to take the sport to the next level over the years. All have failed to so with efforts normally not making it past a few people talking about it.
Well, that looks like it may be about to change, or at the very least there is an effort that has pushed beyond the ‘I have an idea’ stage. The group that calls themselves ‘UKFL’ (formerly known as UKAFL) have released promo videos on a new website announcing what they are planning to do. The good news is that there seems to be an actual big picture plan and UKFL have given themselves plenty of time to get things rolling.
Many will remember the UKAFL’s previous efforts to make a positive impact on UK American Football. Originally it was an effort between Leicester Falcons GM, Guy Kersey, and Mick Tyler back in 2018 to create a semi-pro spinoff league using existing Britball clubs. Then the company pivoted into livestreaming and provided a number of good quality broadcasts of Div 1 Britball games in 2019, most of the games either involving the Leicester Falcons or Northumberland Vikings. Guy Kersey then left the organisation and the focus was turned to making UKAFL a UK American Football media outlet in 2020, this is when David Robson joined the company.
Now re-emerging under the new UKFL banner, the company have added a new and very respected Director with Coach Jonathan Rooney joining the ranks and are this time looking to create a new semi-pro league with 8 brand new teams that are not being spun-off from the existing Britball leagues.
The 8 teams will be split into North and South divisions, selected game day locations will aim to provide a great fan day experience for fans. Plus there will be media coverage and a fantasy football league to go along with it all. There are promises of varying levels of financial opportunities within the league, ranging from people simply buying tickets to people owning one of the new teams.
An investment promotional video on the UKFL’s website explains:
“UKFL was set up to create a range of commercial partnerships that can be used to benefit British American Football. Since the introduction of the NFL games in London, focus on American Football has grown with TV audiences of 24 million unique viewers; however this has not yet trickled down to the British game.
Our initial project is to provide a media platform for live streams, this will allow teams to broadcast their games to a worldwide audience. We will focus on creating quality content either through our own production team or by publishing other production companies’ content. Emphasis will be placed on making the viewing experience one that supporters will deem worthy of paying for.
We will be targeting local businesses to use the streams for advertising their services. We plan to spread the word to the UK based NFL fans to come and support their local team.“
To help potential new owners, investors and commercial partners understand their vision, the UKFL provides a table showing some examples of other small sports in UK and the predicted profits the UKFL are forecasting. It’s assumed that the numbers are based on ‘fans per game’ figures.
The UKFL will also be looking to hold camps in the USA and Europe for their Coaches to look at potential Players.
‘Whilst we are still in an early preparation phase, May 2023 is the date for the opening weekend. Before then starting from around Jan 2023 we will have our try-outs, camps, and draft to build up to the launch’.
This isn’t going to happen in a hurry but is a good way to improve the level of play in the UK. After speaking recently to Jeff Reinebold about the NFL Europe having a larger following if it were to restart, this would certainly provide a platform for athletes around Europe to take their skills into the sport at a higher level.
The website also already lists 4 partners and another 4 sponsors which is a positive early sign. Included in the Partner are BAFA (the National Governing Body in the UK), EP Sports and Xenith. The extent of these Partnerships is not explained on the site but it’s exciting to see and we look forward to finding out more.
One thing that’s for sure, if they work with BAFA then there are potentially a lot of players that could be found for or attracted to the UK Leagues. Any players that trial and don’t quite make the cut could be directed to BAFA teams to boost their numbers.
We have asked UKFL for a live show where they can take us through their plans and answer any questions coming from the British American Football community.
If anyone has any questions for the guys let us know.
More about the UKFL
The company is made up of three main personnel:
Mick Tyler – Managing Director
Mick is the former GM of the Northumberland Vikings and is a founding member of the UKAFL. He is also the joint owner of Double Coverage aiong with Nick Wilson-Town.
Jonathan Rooney – Director of Football Operations
Coach Rooney is the current Chairman of the Sports Advisory Group for American Football within the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) and is the Head Coach of the Durham Saints.
David Robson – Technical Director
David joined the UKAFL in October 2019 as his technical expertise helped the company launch as a media outlet in 2020.
Investor Promotional Video
Watch the UKFL’s slick promotionl video aimed at Investors