Spring pro league scraps showcase game at Ray-Jay
The All-11 Football League, which aims to resurrect the Tampa Bay Bandits with a new spring pro league in 2015, has scrapped plans for a nationally televised showcase game next month at Raymond James Stadium.
Mike Keller, the league's president, said Friday that the All-11 league decided to drop scheduled showcase games in Tampa and Dallas and focus on preparing for the league's first season in spring 2015. The league is expected to announce its eight initial franchises in the next few weeks, Keller said, with continued plans to have the Tampa Bay Bandits playing at Raymond James.
The league had announced its ambitious future in February in California, including teams in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Keller said Friday the league no longer plans to have teams in California, citing the state's workers' compensation laws as the reason. He declined to confirm whether three other teams initially promoted -- in Dallas, Chicago and New Jersey -- would be part of the league's new plans, only saying that all teams will be in major markets in pro-level stadiums.
The Tampa Sports Authority's Mickey Farrell said Friday that the league had initially bumped the May 17 showcase game in Tampa to a date in July, then decided this week to scrap the game entirely -- it had been scheduled for national broadcast on ESPN2.