All signs are pointing up for the Alliance of American Football and for the San Antonio Commanders, who attracted a paying crowd of nearly 28,000 to the Alamodome for their initial game, which turned out to be a victory.
1200 WOAI news reports the game averaged about 3 million viewers on TV, which, while not as strong as an NFL game, was better than the Saturday night ratings for the NBA.
Russ Bookbinder, CEO of San Antonio Sports, says all indications are that the AAF is not a 'flash in the pan.'
"This edition of spring time football is the best that has been put out there," bookbinder said. "It is first class, and the design is to help players to get to the NFL."
Analysts say several factors will help the AAF stand out in a landscape littered with the bones of alternative football leagues going back to the seventies.
The first is, the AAF, unlike the USFL and other failed leagues, makes no claims to be a 'rival' to the NFL, instead positioning itself as a stepping stone into the league or back to the NFL. The teams are owned by the league, to avoid the allegation that the owners of teams in previous leagues were only in it because they hoped that their league would become the 'next AFL,' and would be invited to join the NFL. In addition, the AAF's innovations, like no kickoffs and allowing TV viewers to listen to the discussions held by referees during booth reviews, will influence the NFL and will play well on social media, but will not be considered to be 'too edgy,' like the allegations raised against the old XFL, which hopes to revive next year.
There is also praise for the AAF for starting its season the weekend after the Super Bowl, when people are still attuned to football, instead of waiting until April, like previous spring leagues did.
Bookbinder expects the Commanders to become a key part of San Antonio's sports scene.
"I don't think its a flash in the pan at all,' he said. "I think the planning the leadershp of the league, from a football level, a business level, a television level, everyting is being done the right way."
And Bookbinder says anything that benefits sports in San Antonio benefits the entire city.
Photo Courtesy: AAF/San Antonio Commanders ( Ronald Martinez/AAF/Getty Images)