The Arena Football League announced they will switch two-conference format for the 2016 season.
With the loss of the Spokane Shock to the IFL and the folding of the Las Vegas Outlaws and New Orleans VooDoo, the AFL was left with unbalanced Divisional Alignments entering 2016. With only 9 teams in the league and no word of expansion in the near future, the AFL eliminated the four divisions, marking the first time that there have not been division alignments in arena football since the 1991 season. The AFL's Board of Directors voted upon a two-conference format - American and National - and will be "based on geographic relationships and historic rivalries."
Here's what the alignments will look like:
Cleveland Gladiators Jacksonville Sharks Orlando Predators Philadelphia Soul Tampa Bay Storm
Arizona Rattlers Los Angeles KISS Portland Thunder San Jose SaberCats
The two-conference format is a model that the Indoor Football League used from 2012-2015. In the IFL, the top 2 teams in each conference clinched a playoff spot.
The AFL has not announced modifications to the playoff format, but logically it would make sense to reduce the number of playoff teams from 8 to 4 (two per conference), otherwise the entire National Conference would get in the playoffs.
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San Antonio was rumored to be announced during the Spurs opener. That didn't happen.
The ArenaFan peeps are taking it as a good sign that they're still working behind the scenes to make it right so that there isn't another Pittsburgh or Las Vegas situation. Personally, I don't see how this is a guarantee of expansion for 2017, but that's just my opinion.
Who knows what's going on in the AFL front office. They could stun everyone and announce an expansion team when the schedule is released.