With a scaled-down schedule in a four-team league, the upstart UFL still managed to lose a whopping $30 million in its first year of operation, according to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal.
That’s roughly $2.3 million per game for each of the 13 games played this year by the UFL.
At that rate, the NFL would lose more than $763 million in one season, based on 332 total games played (256 regular-season, 64 preseason games, the Hall of Fame game, 10 postseason games, and the Super Bowl).
The bulk of the losses came from average attendance of less than 10,000 per game, far below a projected average of 20,000 per game.
“I gotta tell you, I never bought into 20,000 a game,” UFL COO Frank Vuono told Kaplan. “I am telling you that point blank.”
The title game, hosted by the Las Vegas Locomotives at Sam Boyd Stadium, drew fewer than 15,000 fans.
Commissioner Michael Huyghue shrugged off the losses.
“We were prepared for that,” Huyghue told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, via SportsBusiness Daily. “The plan is through better marketing, higher
attendance, more corporate sponsors and improved television ratings
that we’ll cut our losses in half next year and hopefully break even in
“Better marketing” presumes that there actually was marketing. By all appearances, there wasn’t.
And we strongly recommend a higher degree of sensitivity to scheduling. As in not scheduling a home game for the Florida Tuskers in St. Petersburg the same night USF is hosting a game in Tampa, or not scheduling any game on the same night the NFL is playing.
Huyghue also said that, next year, the four UFL teams will play four extra regular-season games, expanding the full slate of games to 10. The California Redwoods and New York Sentinels, which occupy NFL markets, likely will be moved.
Here’s some free advice from PFT on how to improve the sport: Dump the uniforms, and start over.
But before doing so, take a poll of all UFL employees as to whether they like the current uniforms. And fire anyone who says “yes.”
Those two pieces of advice are worth roughly $30 million. So we’re offering them up for free, and the UFL can thus claim that it broke even in 2009.