Arena Football League Trims Playoff Lineup

NEW YORK The Arena Football league has narrowed its search for an agency to handle a brand awareness project to three shops, an AFL spokesman said.

Dailey & Associates in Los Angeles, J. Brown in Stamford, Conn., and Margeotes|Fertitta + Partners in New York will make presentations next week at the AFL’s New York office to a panel that will include AFL commissioner David Baker and NBC Sports president Ken Schnazer.

The shops will address how to enhance awareness of the expanding league and its brand through creative work, account strategy and media planning, said Chris McCloskey, AFL’s vice president of communications.

The Chicago-based league, which began exploring project ideas in April, first narrowed the field to 12 in August. While the AFL’s expansion will likely be addressed in any new work, it will not be the focus of any campaign.

“We’d be doing this anyway, but certainly adding three expansion teams this year adds three markets that will be that much more interested in the AFL,” McCloskey said.

The league has expanded from 16 to 19 teams for the 2004 season, adding the New Orleans VooDoo, Austin Wranglers and Philadelphia Soul, a team co-owned by rock ‘n’ roll performer Jon Bon Jovi. AFL games are broadcast on Sundays from February through June on NBC.

The AFL spent about $4 million on advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.