The UFL originally had planned to launch its third season in August, at which time there possibly would have been no NFL football. Ongoing financial issues, coupled with the expected return of the NFL, have prompted the UFL to delay the start of the 2011 season by 30 days.
The league announced the development on Tuesday.
In a letter to fans, Commissioner Michael Huyghue blamed the development on the “uncertainty of the NFL and NBA lockouts,” explaining that they have created “a destabilizing, negative impact throughout the professional sports industry.”
In the end, it’s all about dollars and cents, or the lack thereof. Last week, Huyghue told PFT that the league would move forward with the 2011 season, despite $50 million in expenses and an estimated $10 million in revenue. Pushing back the schedule won’t reduce expenses; the question is whether the league will be able to raise more revenue over the next 30 days.
During a Tuesday afternoon conference call, Huyghue cited the need for more revenue, the end of the NFL lockout, and ongoing financial issues as further reasons for the decision, per WTKR.com.
There’s also a chance that the UFL will try to sell all or part of the league to the NFL, which could then operate the five teams as an NFL farm system, with some games televised on NFL Network and possibly with the NFL relationship making the league more attractive to one of the other broadcast outlets. Whether the league is interested in acquiring a football league with an expected operating deficit of $8 million per franchise remains to be seen.
Maybe the league can close the deal by agreeing to never apply the franchise tag to Michael Huyghue.