In just three weeks time, we will see the Barcelona Dragons host the Stuttgart Surge as the European League of Football officially kicks-off on June 19th.
Initially launched in November, the ELF is the first fully professional American football league since NFL Europa ended in 2007. The league is recognised by the NFL and will no doubt provide a perfect vessel to keep the sport on our screens year-wide as it fills the summer void perfectly.
Eight teams from Germany, Spain and Poland (mainly Germany) are split in two divisions (North and South) and will play home and away between each of their division opponents, and two of the other division’s teams. The top two teams from each division will then qualify for the playoffs, with the Championship game taking place in Düsseldorf on September 26th.
Unlike NFL Europa, the ELF is focused on bringing through homegrown talent, with restrictions in place on international players (maximum of 4 US players and 10 non-US foreign players in a 60 player roster).
That is the key difference between leagues like the XFL, where it was seen as a gateway to the NFL for American players that are no longer eligible for college ball. Instead the goal is to create an environment where young European talent can utilise the league to state their case to become NFL players.
There are already expansion talks in place too. Future years should see the league expand to around twenty teams, including London (namely the London Warriors), Istanbul, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Madrid initially, as well as Ingolstadt and Hannover who were supposed to take part in this year’s edition but were unable to and pulled out.
Want to watch? The ELF has signed a deal with two German broadcasters, ProSieben MAXX (13 major games) and ran.de (all other games). The ELF has created its own pay-per-view network with a single game, gameweek, team, and whole season option, much in the same way as NFL Game Pass which you can find here.
We will be providing updates on the ELF throughout the season on Full10Yards so stay tuned!