LAS VEGAS (January 5, 2017) – The Arena Football League’s 30th Anniversary Season is set to kick off on Friday, April 7, as the 2017 AFL schedule was officially released today. Expansion teams will kick off the season at Verizon Center when the Washington Valor host Baltimore on Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m. ET.
The Cleveland Gladiators, Philadelphia Soul, Tampa Bay Storm, Washington Valor and the soon-to-be-named Baltimore team will comprise the roster of teams in 2017 with each playing 14 games and receiving four byes during the 18-week regular season. The AFL elected to reduce to a 14-game schedule for the 2017 with the goal of returning to between 16 and 18 games in the future.
“Although it’s our 30th season, in many ways 2017 represents a new beginning for the AFL. We are fortunate to have incredibly loyal and enthusiastic fans who really enjoy the excitement of Arena Football,” AFL Commissioner Scott C. Butera said. “We believe this community deserves teams run by the best in class professional sports organizations who are truly dedicated to the success of their teams and enjoyment of their fan base. For the first time, our league represents just that. We are also excited to introduce two new cities in Washington and Baltimore and expect many more to come in the upcoming seasons.”
The defending ArenaBowl champion Philadelphia Soul will begin their title defense on Saturday, April 15 when they travel to play the Tampa Bay Storm at Amalie Arena at 7 p.m. The AFL will be announcing its broadcast schedule in the near future.