The financial future of the UFL remains a huge question two years after the league’s launch, but UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue says the fledgling league will play on.
(Florio spoke with Huyghue Thursday evening, and then called the news in from the beach before heading out to buy Florio Jr. more sneakers.)
It hasn’t been an easy summer for the UFL. They hoped the NFL lockout would provide an opening for momentum, but serious financial difficulties remain. The league was unable to find outside investors and will take a big loss in 2011.
There are four owners of the league, and they will bear the $50 million in costs that it will take to keep the UFL running this year. They conservatively estimate $10 million in revenue for a $40 million deficit. They are carrying $5 million in debt from the first two years.
I’m no accountant, but that’s not a pretty picture.
A television deal has been slow to materialize. Both TNT and CBS showed interest this year, but ultimately no deal was struck.
It’s possible the UFL’s future lies as a minor league to the NFL. Huyghue has spoken with the NFL twice about selling the league, after each UFL season. The NFL put the discussion on hold until after the lockout, and Huyghue anticipates the talks could re-start at a later date.
Then again, it’s hard to know whether the NFL’s interest was genuine or whether it was gamesmanship during a pre-lockout phase that included a lot of strange activity.
As someone that simply has thought “I have too much football,” I’d like to see the UFL survive whether as a minor league or possibly a diversion to the big show. For 2011, the smaller show will go on.
With major financial losses and no big television deal, it’s fair to wonder how much longer the UFL can continue to do so.