UFL claims it’s not dead, yet

Getty Images

The UFL has spent the past several months in a financially-induced coma.  Soon, however, the minor league with major losses plans to emerge from its slumber.

We’re moving forward,” UFL founder Bill Hambrecht told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday.  “We fully expect to play.”

Per the Review-Journal, the league plans to make a formal announcement of its plans for the coming season on May 1.

The UFL, which currently has five teams, will play mostly on weeknights, with a schedule that commences in the middle of September.  CBS Sports Network is expected to televise the games nationally.

“We believe we have a media deal in place,” Hambrecht said, which doesn’t convey full confidence that the contract has been or will be signed.  “With that in mind, we are moving ahead.”

Hambrecht added that players have been fully paid — finally — for last season’s efforts.  The Review-Journal reports that the UFL is attempting to settle another $1.2 million in debt.

“The reality is we’ve been under-financed the first three years,” Hambrecht said of the league that has lost more than $120 million over three years.  “But we’ve got things in place now to see to it that we are financially solid.”

The new-look UFL will have no commissioner or league office.  Instead, Hambrecht and Virginia Destroyers owner Bill Mayer will run the business side of the UFL, and Las Vegas coach and president Jim Fassel will run the football operations.  (Apparently, dire financial situations trump obvious conflicts of interest in the rock-scissors-paper exercise of running a sports league.)

“We’ve got to change a bunch of stuff, and we need to get more awareness, both locally and nationally,” Fassel said.  “We need to do a better job getting the word out, and I believe we will.”

The UFL previously had done a fairly decent (for the most part) job of getting the word out.  The problem was that, as best we can tell, no one really cares.  Until they do, the UFL is destined to fail.

34 responses to “UFL claims it’s not dead, yet

  1. Just play the season during the spring when there is NFL down-time. The USFL tanked as soon as they tried to compete with the NFL. There is a football vacuum between February and August and the UFL could have exploited that but chose not to. Stupid business decision. There would also be a simple transition for any player trying to get into the NFL since the seasons would no longer conflict.

  2. Looks like Nike stole their ideas for the Seahawks new unis from the UFL. Team name on the shoulder? Check. Loads of neon green? Check.

  3. I would’ve cared if they somehow got a good TV deal and it was possible to follow them. Hopefully the USFL works out as a development league.. Never such a thing as too much football.

  4. I wish these upstart leagues would play a spring/summer schedule instead of fall. With the NFL and NCAA taking all the advertising dollars and prime TV slots in fall, they are doomed unless they agree to be just a farm system for the NFL

  5. Idiocy… Why start in september when the NFL season is getting into gear? Why not start in the spring? I’d like a way to feed my need for football in the offseason… and it’d give the UFL players the opportunity to get on with an NFL club without having those funky buyout rules they had last year.

  6. Mike,

    >>The UFL previously had done a fairly decent (for the most part) job of getting the word out.  The problem was that, as best we can tell, no one really cares.  Until they do, the UFL is destined to fail.<<

    Can't agree with this at all, at my office few if any heard of it, mainly from Jay Gruden getting hired. I'm sure it's known in the cities they play but outside not enough. Once a network pushes to get the word out it'll get more recognized. Awareness needs to rise.

    Even Comcast SN (part of NBC Sports) carried some local games last year, likely more this year. Bottomline its a lot closer to NFL quality than top NCAA, and it's something else to watch. Unlike baseball the NFL is only on one day and night a week, this provides more opportunities to watch proFB.

    My 2 cents

  7. I wanted to care. I kept up on it in the papers, but so many football leagues have failed that I have always assumed from the start this one will too.

    Am not going to get emotionally vested in this like with the USFL only to have it go away.

    Besides, it is hard to be excited when the leagues Most Valuable Player is a run down almost was from the NFL.

  8. Just like billinva said, they should play when the NFL is in the offseason. If they did, along with a good tv contract so that fans could follow them, success would come. Besides, it would give the guys playing for them an open door to possibly make an NFL team, like a farm team. Baseball is semi successful in doing it, why not the NFL> UFL? Plus, I would be much more inclined to watch if I could follow a players journey from the minors to the big league. It would be another way for those college athletes that weren’t good enough to go through the NFL Draft, play and convince NFL teams they have what it takes. All positives.

  9. Why did they not get a deal with CBS Sports Network last year????

    All they play are reruns of Tim Brando’s show and NCAA games that no one cares about!!!!

  10. Honestly, until recently and on here, I hadn’t heard a single word about the UFL in so many years I just assumed it disbanded long ago.

    Think that might be a big part of the UFL’s problem?

  11. But will they allow Gregg Williams after he gets banned for life from the NFL? Thats the question…

  12. The NFL should just co-opt this league and turn it into a minor league. Young guys who haven’t made it in the league and aging vets trying to reestablish themselves could then play in the UFL to try to prove themselves to scouts and teams.

  13. Agree with those who believe the UFL should play during the NFL off season. I live in a UFL city (Sacramento) and I might go to their games if they were played in the spring. But in the fall I’m focused on my NFL team.

  14. >>>>humbolt says:
    Apr 7, 2012 3:27 PM
    Agree with those who believe the UFL should play during the NFL off season. I live in a UFL city (Sacramento) and I might go to their games if they were played in the spring. But in the fall I’m focused on my NFL team.<<<<

    Really?

     So you are so focused on your SF 49ers Sunday or Monday night game that you can't watch a Sacramento UFL game on Thursday, Friday or Saturday? Dude that's like saying you can't chew gum and walk at the same time…. On different days no less!

    UFL helps fill the week while people are jones-ing for proFB, imo

  15. The success of professional football hinges on local fan interest. No one outside of Las Vegas could get excited about an IFL team. Hell, I’m not excited about NFL teams that are not my hometown team, or division rival. Tough row to hoe running an upstart football league without fan loyalty or with the purpose of being the minor league for NFL teams. Not even the We Laf league got good exposure and fan interest even with recognizable names and fairly credible professional play.

  16. As other people have said, it’s absolutely baffling why the UFL season is in the fall. Why play when there is football on TV virtually every night of the week when you could have a two-month season (starting in May perhaps) with no real competition?

    If it were me, I’d hold a UFL Draft shortly after the NFL Draft, pay a little more for undrafted free agents and fill my rosters with those guys and NFL castoffs. The season could run from mid-May to mid-July, ending in time for players to get picked up by NFL teams for their own training camps.

    But what do I know?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!