When the St. Petersburg Swans tangle with the Florida Lions in this weekend’s 2018-19 Major League Footy Championship Final, the result will mark not only the circuit’s biggest game – it will also put an emphatic end to the first full season of play under the MLF Aussie Fives format.
The proprietary format and game play system – currently Patent Pending in the United States, with a license for international protection also pending – and developed in Florida in over 140 ‘proof of concept’ and trial matches – is a distinctly Americanized take on Australian football.
Originally designed to meet the specific needs in the Major League Footy launch market, Aussie Fives began as a hybrid of various initiatives designed for the international expansion of Australian Rules Football to non-traditional markets.
From there, and as Major League Footy moved to become the only independent, self-funded venture aimed specifically at leveraging the sport towards a sustainable enterprise following accepted American semi-professional and pro sports best practices, MLF game play and business aims evolved together.
Having evolved a proprietary variation of the sport aimed first at its own core market, facilities and player universe, the competition continues down a growth pathway, with long-anticipated clubs in Southern California and Texas expected to take the field under MLF Aussie Fives rules in 2020 and beyond.
This Saturday’s MLF Championship Final, then, is a definitive statement that the format – and the business model – represent the best pathway for the growth of competitive Australian Rules Football as a serious entry onto the American sports scene.