CAFL – Professional American Indoor Football in China

Philadelphia Business Journal Spotlights CAFL’s Local Ties

Tuesday’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal draws attention to CAFL’s Marty Judge and his Philadelphia-based team, bringing American professional indoor football to China.

Arena football expansion to China has Philadelphia’s fingerprints all over it

by John George, Senior Writer

Arena football is coming to China — thanks to a trio with strong Philadelphia ties.

Montgomery County businessman Martin E. Judge Jr. and his Beijing-based company, Ganlan Media International, along with the Chinese Rugby Football Association have created the new league, which will be known as the China American Football League.

Judge’s partners in the venture include former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil. Jaworski is also the majority owner of the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena Football League. Judge, the founder and CEO of the Judge Group consulting firm based in West Conshohocken, Pa., holds a minority ownership stake in the Soul.

The CAFL plans to begin play in 2015 with two conferences featuring six to eight teams based in the major cities in China.

Franchise owners will be required to invest $10 million per team. They will receive an undisclosed portion of the TV licensing rights.

“It is possible that someday the CAFL could be bigger in China than the NFL is here?” Judge said. “Here in the U.S., there are 330 million people. In China, there are 1.4 billion people, four times the number here. There are 3.8 billion people in all of Asia. It is very exciting to ponder the opportunities.”
Jaworski first talked to me about the plans to export arena football to China back in 2013. In that interview he noted, “It’s an enormous project. We understand that, but the opportunities are tremendous. To grow the game of football and our brand of football in China — it’s something the Nikes and Under Armours of the world are watching very closely.”

Each CAFL team will have a combination of American and Chinese players.

The league plans to further expand the CAFL throughout the Asian economic region. Judge said his long-term vision is to have 30 teams throughout China, Asia and Australia.

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