So the Alliance of American Football has officially reached the “give tickets away with fast food meals” stage of their decline.

According to Twitter and Reddit – very reliable sources in this day and age – customers who purchased a regularly-priced All-Star meal at Carl’s Jr. received a voucher for two free tickets to any Arizona Hotshots home game this season. A regularly-priced All-Star meal is $5.

After a decent start, attendance at AAF games is trending in the wrong direction. According to NFLDraftDiamonds.com, the league averaged 19,210 a game in Week 1 and 19,624 in Week 2 but dropped to 14,078 in Week 3.

Attendance at last night’s game in Memphis was 13,621 – up from 11,980 in Week 1 – while the game in Salt Lake City drew… well, have a look.

Of course, the CFL has had some embarrassing giveaways of their own over the years, most recently during the 2016 Grey Cup when Pizza Pizza locations in Hamilton offered a walk-in special that included a three-topping large pizza, 10 chicken wings, four cans of pop and two dipping sauces… and two free tickets to the Grey Cup game in Toronto. All for $30. The league stepped in quickly and shut it down. 

Giving away tickets with value meals isn’t a great look for the AAF, particularly after Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon dumped $250-million into the league last month. The Athletic reported the league was struggling to make payroll and that its “existence was in jeopardy.”

Why does that matter to the CFL? Well, several former CFL players have signed with the AAF recently instead of returning to Canada and quarterback Johnny Manziel may or may not have orchestrated his release from Montreal to pursue opportunities in the upstart league. Several CFL coaches and general managers have said the AAF has impacted their ability to recruit players and the league may be willing to raise its minimum salary in order to help it compete. If the AAF is in trouble, that’s probably good news for the CFL.

The Arizona game against the Atlanta Legends goes Sunday at 8 p.m. so we’ll see if the promotion has any impact. The Hotshots had 11,751 in the stands for their season opener so the bar is pretty low and the charbroiled double sliders at Carl’s Jr. do look delicious.

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