I'm not even sure what to make of this news, but the Arena Football League has signed a two-year deal to televise its games on CBS Sports Network starting in 2013. Currently, the AFL airs on NFL Network.
Starting on Saturday, March 23rd, CBS Sports Network will air the AFL's Game of the Week every Saturday. The season-ending Arena Bowl will air on Saturday, August 17th at 1 PM on CBS.
CBS Sports Network has even less properties than the struggling NBC Sports Network, and picking up the AFL is actually a pretty solid coup for them. The AFL is probably the second-most popular sports property that CBS Sports Network has the rights to after college football and basketball. Their other "premier" properties include lacrosse and bull riding, making the AFL pretty mainstream in comparison to what else they're consistently airing once the college football and basketball seasons end.
The AFL isn't gaining much out of this, however. CBS itself doesn't exactly air many sports in the summer, and there's likely not going to be much of an attempt at cross-promotion. By leaving NFL Network, the AFL will lose the promotion that the football-focused network gave them, and also loses a built-in audience.
This is a pretty solid win for CBS Sports Network, but it may be a step back for the AFL.
I have been a fan of the AFL since its inception in the late 1980s. CBS has done an excellent job of covering the AFL this season. They feature many things that fans of t he game like to see. Players, coaches, the rules of the game are explained completely, and the stars of the show are the players! Congrats CBS, many AFL fans think you are doing the best job of any of the networks that have carried the AFL in the past.
I think its good for both sides. I also think it will give CBS Sports Network something to air after college basketball season ends.