UFL not going away any time soon

Some in the NFL might secretly be hoping to see the UFL disappear before 2011, since the UFL would give football fans an alternative during a lockout. 

But the upstart league won’t be leaving just yet.

Despite an inaugural season that was more sparsely attended than D.C. church services that conflicted with the Super Bowl, the UFL plans to expand from four teams to six.

According to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the UFL has raised $20 million from two new owners.

The new money partially will offset $30 million in losses from 2009 and a projected $15 million loss in 2010.

Kaplan also reports that the UFL will move its games to Friday and Saturday nights only in 2010. 

And that’s a good idea — too many Thursday night games conflicted with too many other sporting events in the same market.  For example, the New York franchise hosted a game at the Meadowlands on the same night as a postseason Yankees game, and the Florida franchise hosted a game in St. Petersburg on the same night that Raymond James Stadium was nearly packed for USF’s home game against West Virginia.

The six teams will play a ten-game schedule in 2010, and the season will launch a month early.

“You are going to see on the marketing and business side big changes to terms of the approach and how we go about it,” Commissioner Michael Huyghue said.

One thing that remains up in the air is the league’s broadcasting deal.  Versus and HDNet televised games in 2009 — Huyghue said that the league is still in discussions with broadcasters for 2010.

In our view, there’s another very important thing the UFL can do to improve its standing:  Come up with new uniforms. 

Last year’s collection of color schemes looked worse than something an eight-year-old devised in Madden’s Create-A-Team mode  If the UFL wants people to watch the games, the UFL needs to give the people colors and logos that will resonate, not repulse.

26 responses to “UFL not going away any time soon

  1. Hey UFL, try this: spring football. Yup, it would work. Why try to compete against the NFL head to head? You can also scoop up a bunch of players cut free in March.

  2. You mean the “silvery blue cloud things vs. the bluish silver wave things” isn’t a good way to build market awarenes or brand loyalty? Wow

  3. Nice to see you finally come out of the closet Florio. You might be the only one who doesn’t watch the UFL because of color scheme. I hear that everyone else didn’t watch it because the product sucked.

  4. Good, it’s a great idea that hopefully will thrive and grow to 8-10 teams next year.
    And friday and saturday night games are a good step. Then we can have pro football four nights a week.
    I’d rather watch the Locos and the Tuskers than Florida against whatever small school they’re hanging 50 points on that week.

  5. I hope the games are showed on a network I have heard of/get this year. If it is football, I will watch it.

  6. I like this idea of expanding the teams and the season, but with the way this economy is, they need to find a way to boost their income. New Uniforms and New tv channels would help alot. The UFL would pick up more sponsors and more fans. Good Luck UFL, hope whatever you do works out.

  7. They really need to dump Versus if they never get their dispute with DirecTV resolved.
    Millions of people have DTV just because of Sunday Ticket, so they need to put the games on a network that is supported by the biggest sports satellite carrier in the world.

  8. Considering that half of the NFL uniforms are replulsive, one should not throw too many stones.
    After seeing those neon green seahawk’s throwbacks, and seeing the browns uniforms that are the color scheme of poop, maybe the nfl needs to do the same thing.

  9. Glad to hear they are trying to stick around. I’d love to see a team here in Texas or Oklahoma…someplace I can quickly get to by driving or flying. I’d pay to see some guys that have a real desire to play football, and not just get their names on TV. I agree with the uniforms bit, too so good call Florio.
    The biggest thing will be to get off of Versus. With DirecTV having a pissing match with Versus, I can’t watch the channel. Since a lot of pro football fans have DirecTV from their NFLNetwork spat days, the UFL is missing a key market if half their games can’t be seen on TV. If I were the UFL bigwigs, I’d look at creating my own channel and then basically giving it away to any carrier that would have it. You have to saturate the market when you are new.

  10. Amen. The uniforms are virtually indistinguishable from each other because they’re so hideous and all employ the same layout.

  11. They had those jerseys to promote the league logos, league colors, etc. I agree that they’re pretty bad, but it was all for marketing to get the league some air-time. I hope a UFL team comes to dallas, but I dont know where they would play…probably the Cotton Bowl? But that would be 1 of the smartest things to do, bring a football team down to where Football is Religion. Then put a team in San Antonio.
    I hope for the best for this league, these guys actually play for the passion of the game, not the money or getting their names out there…

  12. I’m surprised this hasn’t been mentioned as a possibility but I think the owners should explore the option of replacement players and planning for the 2011 season to go on as normal.
    If the owners announced they would be going with replacement players in 2011:
    -They could then write and agree to a new CBA for all incoming players into the NFL and any current player that agrees to the new CBA (I know technically it wouldn’t be a CBA-because it would not be collective nor bargaining, but you guys know what I mean).
    -They then go into the 2011 season knowing they will have to go with replacement players which would give them plenty of time to draft (all incoming college players would have to agree to the new terms), find (players not on NFL rosters could be used), train (an entire offseason to coach and implement schemes), and get players ready to play the 2011 season and beyond.
    -All current NFL players (NFLPA members) that agreed to the new terms of the CBA would be allowed to “cross the line” and join their teams. Their current teams would promise to honor their contracts as written (grandfather clause all contracts that don’t meet the new CBA guidelines)
    -They could then pass the savings onto the fans, they already have a TV deal and if it’s on TV, most fans will watch. But seats at the stadiums could see as much as a 50% decrease in price which would bring fans back into the game.
    -They sudden opening up of NFL jobs would also drive the UFL out of business quickly. What would fringe NFL players rather do? Get a fantastic shot at winning one of 53 jobs on one of 32 teams for the NFL or play for one of 8 teams in the UFL? NFL by a landslide!
    My guess would be that 20% of all current NFL players would immediately denounce the NFLPA and cross the lines after they see the owners have an alternative to using them. By the time the regular season starts at least 50% of the players would have agreed to the new labor deal. Even if some of the biggest stars still held out they would eventually see that the game moved on without them,, and new stars emerged and they would be begging to be let back in and meet the owners’ labor demands bef0re the season was over.
    So let’s hear it for replacement players in 2011!

  13. They should use the UFL as a minor league like in baseball to develop players. Only change would be sending entire bottom feeder teams like the Rams and Lions to the UFL instead of players. That way when the team develops enough talent to compete they can come back to the NFL.

  14. It would be great if they come back. I am concerned they may not play again since they have not confirmed all the teams yet. I went to two games, but have not heard a word about if they are coming back.
    Uniforms and tv are hot topics and I agree with the other readers, they sucked last year.
    I live in LV and have a buddy that works in a hotel there and it seems they might still owe some money…but hopefully they will come back

  15. Telemundo is brodcasting all games.
    The new team in Sacramento will be called “the Teletubbies”
    Tinky Winky as the logo on the helmet.

  16. At the risk of having my sexual preference called into question by some of the incredibly clever and mature posters here, I’ll second (or third) Florio’s position on the uniforms. It’s important to create distinctive identities for each team.
    That said, better uniforms won’t turn the tide for the UFL.
    Putting franchises in cities where there isn’t an NFL presence is number one. San Francisco and New York were huge mistakes.
    The second, and perhaps even bigger issue was their TV contract. Admittedly, none of the big networks were going to pay to broadcast UFL games, but I have to think they could have done better than Versus. I think a better approach might have been to pick up contracts with all of those independent stations that were left in the wash after the UPN/WB collapse. I travel a fair bit and it seems like many of those orphan stations have formed a loose affiliation under the “My (channel number)” banner, at least in major cities. Surely an over-the-air broadcast approach would work better than a third-tier cable outlet.

  17. NoHomeTeam says: Surely an over-the-air broadcast approach would work better than a third-tier cable outlet.
    Don’t go to the Arena League boards and say that because it’ll get your banned (like me). 🙂

  18. I am a UFL fan. They remind me of the AFL back in the 60’s when they dared to take on the mighty NFL. The quality of play was dubious and the NFL viewed them with disdain and contempt. They however stayed the course and today we see the result. I wish the UFL godspeed and hope they are successful as a league. While some are saying that the possible NFL lockout in 2011 will be a golden opportunity for the UFL I am not so sure that the UFL will be able to survive such a lockout.
    Most of the UFL players are top tier players who have been cut from NFL rosters. Most would be able to make an NFL team given an opportunity. Some are looking for their first opportunities. If the NFL were to announce replacement players there would be many UFL players that would not be able to resist the temptation to leave for the NFL. This would in fact decimate the ranks of the UFL and would leave them unable to carry on a season. The other extreme would be if the UFL were unable to resist the temptation to try and hire NFL players that would love the opportunity to stay in shape. IF the owners were able to work out a deal a couple of weeks into the season the mass exodus from the UFL would again destroy the UFL season. The UFL MUST play it very smart if it expects to survive the NFL lockout. If the NFL wants to squash this new upstart league, this would be the perfect opportunity. I hope the UFL leaders are smart enough to prepare for the possible fallout!

  19. Actually the hartford team will be the old NY Sentinels. They will become the Hartford Sentinels. The California team will move from SF to Sacramento. San Antonio and Salt Lake City are the most likely candidates for new teams. They are avoiding the NFL heavy NE. I also believe that the Sentinels had the best Uniforms in the league. Next year the teams will make uniform decisions at the team level, not from the UFL headquarters.

  20. The football was actually pretty good in the UFL, but the jerseys like you said were god awful. They really need to fix them.

  21. I would like to clear up a couple of things that seem to have become misconceptions:
    1. Each team in year 2 will have custom jersey designs
    2. A second year of play for the league was guaranteed in the 2 yr agreement the UFL signed with the Versus TV network
    3.All of the games were able to be watched at the UFL website(using Microsoft silverlight[a free down-loadable app]), so if you don’t have HDnet or Versus the games can still be watched
    4. The New York Sentinels which are now being moved to Conn. will receive a new name due to a vote place most likely on the UFL homepage this off season
    5. The SF team moving to Sacramento will keep its name
    6. The league did have low turn out to many games but much was due to a lack of marketing in the initial season that they had already planned to increase in year 2(and the many different locations of play)
    7. Revenues were based upon sponsorship dollars and TV contracts, so a poor attendance in the first few seasons would not and could not harm the leagues growth

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