With the official announcement of approval from the China government, the new professional league will be called CAFL (China Arena Football League), and the Beijing based operating company, formerly known as Ganlan Media International, will carry the same name.
“We think this acronym says it all,” said David Niu, the President of AFL Global, the founding corporation based in Conshohocken, PA, USA. “The league, and all of our efforts, are unique to China. We want to highlight the fact that we are playing American-style football, not to be confused with soccer. And we want to emphasize that this is China’s first ever professional league, played by the best players in the world.”
Plans call for a league debut in the Fall of 2016. Many of the rosters will feature Chinese players, who have been learning and training for the arena game specifically for over a year, at 6 select Chinese Universities, under the guidance of AFL Global.
CAFL headquarters are located in Beijing, with leadership comprised of senior media executives and sports professionals with an array of government and commercial experience.
MARTIN E. JUDGE, JR.
Chairman & Founder, CAFL
Martin E. Judge, Jr. founded The Judge Group, a leading global professional services company, in 1970 and has since guided its growth to over 32 offices in the U.S., Canada and China. Marty, an avid supporter of football as a member of the board of governors of The Maxwell Football Club, joined the ownership group of The Philadelphia Soul in 2011. The Judge Group has been doing business in China since 2008. Marty founded AFL Global and The CAFL in 2011 after obtaining the support of the Chinese government, specifically the Chines Rugby Football Association (CRFA.) Marty has been a whirlwind of promotion, appearing frequestly on US and China National televsion. (See “Video” tab for more)
GARY R. MORRIS
Gary R. Morris is President of The Judge Group and its China business unit, Judge China. Gary has over 29 years of senior-level executive management, sales and operations experience in the services industries. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University. Gary is the former Chairman of the Technical, IT and Scientific Sector for the American Staffing Association.
The U.S.-born son of Chinese parents, Ed rocketed to fame and popularity as the first full-blooded Chinese NFL player with the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles, after an all-star collegiate career at Virginia Tech University. “This is a dream opportunity for me, as well as my family,” said Ed, who recently moved to Beijing to take up residency and begin the task of developing future star players and operations for the new pro and college indoor leagues that AFL Global and the CAFL have founded. Ed has enlisted another family member, his cousin Shawn Zhang, as the CAFL’s Director of Player Personnel. “Shawn is a great athlete in own right here as a member of the China National Track Team, and he has been on the forefront of the many developing club football teams that are popping up all over China, and has played the game himself. I am thrilled to have him on our CAFL team,” said Wang. He is a link to a video that provides a bit more background on Ed: Click Here
FIONA WANG (Wang Pei Pei)
Vice President of CAFL Operations
Fiona’s role at CAFL is to coordinate league operations, manage team travel, direct player appearances off the field and support players where needed. Fiona will also assist with personal matters that effect the team and manage new player orientation programs and initiatives.
VP of Broadcasting and Media Operations
After a long career as a sports and news anchor in major east coast media markets, Lou Tilley partnered with international businessman Martin E. Judge, Jr., founder and President of The Judge Group and The CAFL, to form Lou Tilley Media. LTM is an international creative branding, marketing, public relations and production agency. From concept to delivery, Lou and his team craft engaging cross-platform content created to serve each client’s vision and goals.
Lou Tilley has long been a familiar face to TV viewers in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Charlotte and across the nation. His 30+ year on-air career has garnered 11 Emmy awards for excellence in reporting, programming and production.
In 2010, while preparing to emcee the annual Maxwell Football Awards Gala, Lou found himself discussing his future with longtime friend and accomplished businessman, Marty Judge. Lou Tilley Media was born that night as a collaboration between the two. The MFC,. now produced for TV by LTM on national networks, remains the passionate center of the agency. In fact, football – sports – and great storytelling, are at the core of LTM’s impressive list of clients that include: The CAFL China, The Philadelphia Soul, Defend Your Head Sports Safety, The Cal Ripken Baseball Group, , Ron Jaworski Enterprises, and The Judge Group. “I’ve always been an effective story teller. Now, I dig into my client’s stories, their messaging and goals in the same way I would dig into a major news story: to find the most effective avenue of message delivery. I employ “Three E’s” in every project: education, entertainment and enterprise. They are not mutually exclusive,” says Lou from his office along the banks of the Schuylkill River in Conshohocken, PA, not far from the central Philadelphia row home where he was raised.
Recently, LTM planted its flag in China, establishing offices in Shanghai, leading the media and marketing arm of Marty Judge’s dream venture, the China Arena Football League. “This is a blank canvas for LTM. The Chinese market is hungry for western style sports, for football, and my job is – you guessed it – to educate, entertain and make it work for our shared enterprise.” LTM manages all broadcast rights for the new pro league set to launch in 2016. “There are no right or wrong ways to deliver the games there. We can re-invent the way we present this and other sports to new fans. Because of this, we are better enabled to develop new methods of delivery for our sponsors in the process.”
LTM will produce all regular and postseason games in China in both Mandarin and English, as well as distribute them nationally in China on the iQIYI network, and in the US on the ONE World Sports Network. Lou and his team will also manage all public relations and news media, social media , websites in both languages, as well as all game day in-arena operations. LTM also works directly with the CAFL exclusive sponsors to develop and deliver their messages across all media platforms.
LTM is developing streaming delivery systems aimed at China’s massive mobile device audience, in-arena visual entertainment packages, and special fan apps reflecting sponsor driven demographics. “Already, this fresh start, this blank canvas, has lead us in the direction of new methods of story telling, which has helped us and our clients state-side.”
LTM continues its growth internationally, utilizing the ever-changing tools of technology, but always with Lou Tilley, the award-winning broadcaster behind the creation and delivery.
Director of Football Operations
Darrick Branch (DB to all) has done it all in football. A member of a Texas State Championship High School team, he would go on to star at The University of Hawaii, scoring the game-winning touchdown in the Holiday Bowl to beat Illinois. Inspired to play wide receiver as a young boy watching his uncle, Cliff Branch of the fabled Oakland Raiders, DB went on to the NFL with Tampa Bay, Buffalo, San Francisco and Denver before stints in the CFL and Arena Football League. After returning to Hawaii, he began a business career in sports marketing and then developed his own league, the HGL (Hawaii Gridiron League). His combination of player experience, coaching and business skills brought him to AFL Global, and now to the CAFL.