The Arena Football League has a message — “we are back!” — the league that went dormant years ago is returning, and they’re making some history in the process, becoming the first American sports league with a Black commissioner at the helm!
TMZ Sports has learned Lee A. Hutton III has been installed as the league’s new commish. Hutton’s an attorney who worked on big cases involving the NFL and NCAA … so he’s been around the sports world for years.
The AFL plans to relaunch with 16 teams next year, and play a 10-game season.
The games will be played in the summer — a slow time for U.S. sports — before the NFL season gets up and running.
“Our commitment is to deliver a professional sports event every week indoors, on the shoulder of the summer season when the world craves entertainment and competition,” Chairman Chris Chetty said.
“We aim to produce a family-friendly, yet equally electric atmosphere for our committed fans. As Chairman, my objective will be to change the culture of professional sports ownership and it is with great confidence that I state – from the owners to the players – we will be the most racially-diverse professional sports league in the world.”
Of course, the AFL, which began in 1987, was once a thriving league that ran for over 30 seasons … but they never recovered after running into financial troubles in the late 2000s.
But, ownership of the league changed hands … and now the league’s back, and ready to play some football!
The original AFL had celeb owners like Jon Bon Jovi., among other stars. While it’s unclear who will own the 16 new teams, don’t be surprised if you recognize a name or two.