European League of Football
Founded November 4th 2020
First Season 2021
The European League of Football was formed in 2020 as Covid 19 began to loosen it’s grip on the world, and sports began to seem more realistic once again. Following in the footsteps of NFL Europe that ceased operations after 18 seasons this league stands alone, and does not currently have the backing of the NFL, although many teams will look familiar to the American Fans who once watched the NFL European League. The Rhein Fire, Hamburg Sea Devils, Frankfurt Galaxy, Cologne Centurions, Barcelona Dragons, and Berlin Thunder should all sound familiar to fans of the old league.
While the NFL backed league of old never grew past 9 teams, the modern European League of Football has already grown to cover seventeen teams spread across most of Europe. With stadiums ranging from 3,500-31,500 capacities the league has been very open to making it feasible for teams to join.
Already announced during the 2023 season, Madrid, Spain will be getting a team for the 2024 season, and speculation is that other teams will join as well perhaps two more rounding the league out to 20 teams for their fourth season. With questions about the future of a some current teams, they could be looking for new ownership groups, or new funding models for some teams as well.
So far in their short history the Hamburg Sea Devils have been in both championship games, losing both. In 2021 they fell to the Frankfurt Galaxy led by Jakeb Sullivan in front of just over 22,000 fans, and in 2022 it was the newest addition to the European League of Football, the Vienna Vikings led by Jackson Erdman in front of just over 14,000 fans.
With leagues across Europe now growing to new heights the European League of Football has many leagues to pull talent from such as the German Football League, Austrian Football League, D1 Elite in France, and more. This is only helping the European League of Football find talent that other wise might have fallen through the cracks along the way. With such a promising future, the European League of Football and it’s ownership groups know they need to continue to find high end talent to play in their league to attract fans.
With some USFL and XFL players coming from the European League of Football, or opting to play in the European League of Football in the offseason to “double dip” it has only grown the audience for the European League of Football as a league, and put options outside of the United States on the map for many players who never looked into leagues like the European League of Football.
Ownership of the league consists of a partnership between Sports and Entertainment Holding and Patrick Esume the current commissioner for the league. The CEO of the league is Željko Karajica. TV partners range depending on the country you are trying to view from.
Austria: Puls 24
Germany: ProSieben MaxxranSport More Than Sports TV
International: ELF Gamepass
With games available world wide, and at a very reasonable price at that, it should come as no surprise to see the European League of Football growing at the rate that it has over the past three seasons. Many leagues have ignored the international markets assuming their own countries can carry their viewership, only to realize later on this has stunted the growth of their league.
Hamburg Sea Devils
Future Teams or Currently on Hiatus
Leipzig Kings – Could not meet financial obligations to maintain league membership.
Istanbul Rams – Withdrew after 2022, will return to the Turkish Football League.
Madrid ELF Team – Team will be launched in 2024 season. Was first of what should be multiple expansion franchises for the 2024 season.