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Alliance of American Football’s growing pains continue

The Alliance of American Football continued its mixed start, with some disappointing attendances in its second round of fixtures at the weekend.

Memphis Express’s home opener, against the Arizona Hotshots on Saturday, had an announced crowd of 11,980 – but the visual evidence suggested the number was far lower.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Iron’s attendance increased marginally from 17,039 to 17,319 week to week.

“We’re excited about the people that came out and supported us,” Memphis coach Mike Singletary said. “I’m very thankful for our fanbase and, hopefully, we can build on that.”

Memphis’s attendance was, in fact, not the lowest in the spring-season American football league thus far. The Hotshots’ crowd last weekend was originally billed as 15,000 but was later rounded down to 11,751.

One market doing well, however, is San Antonio. On Sunday, the Commanders drew a crowd of 29,176 for their match against the Orlando Apollos, up from a league-high 27,857 last weekend.

The Alliance’s business plan is largely predicated on the the success of its integrated betting app – as founder Charlie Ebersol explained to SportBusiness – but its ratings and attendances will need to improve in the short term to ensure any long-term success.