UFL loses $30 million in opening year

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
Year Three.”

“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.

38 responses to “UFL loses $30 million in opening year

  1. They were going for the “next-gen” look with those uniforms. You can’t hate them for trying to buy into the younger market. The older market spends a majority of their time riding their favorite NFL teams and generally the High School and College student market for men is where they are going to pull in new fans. To be honest, they should collapse the league right now. The AFL was more fun to watch and had bigger names even with ex-NFL flunkees comprising the starting rosters.

  2. The championship game looked like it was at a Community College stadium and attended by half of the local high school booster club….They need to let the league die now before they get as deep as Dubai in debt.

  3. Perhaps getting those games away from a network dumped by Directv might help. Hard to get behind a league you can’t really watch.

  4. Yeah, I don’t get those uniforms either. Here’s some advice guys: Keep it to simple, basic, traditional colors. Red, blue, black, green, gray, gold etc.
    Maybe it would be a good idea to play the league when the NFL isn’t, you know, playing? I’m sure they must’ve thought of that so there must be a reason why they chose to still go ahead and play in the fall rather than in the spring. Maybe they thought they couldn’t pick up guys like JP Losman in the spring because they’d still be on some NFL team’s expanded roster.
    Who knows, but I really do wish this league luck and hope it sticks around.

  5. You know how this league can break even…..PLAY IN THE SPRING….don’t play against the NFL you won’t win. This is why when the UFL played in Giants Stadium they “had” 5k fans. Stick to cities without a Pro Football Team.

  6. “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 Year Three.”
    Year Three? Hahaha. That’s quite an assumption.

  7. Maybe the Vikings could play in the UFL. Oh wait, that won’t bring in more fans. Probably less. Skol tator-tot hotdish!

  8. # xacvol says: November 30, 2009 7:38 PM
    whats the UFL?
    Ultimate FAILED League for all those players that didn’t make NFL rosters, coached by all FAILED NFL coaches

  9. Now there’s a topic that might actually be more interesting than UFL discussion – why did DirectTV drop VS? I didn’t find out until I went to watch the Cal-Stanford game and it wasn’t on.

  10. I would have liked to at least seen a game or two. Was it even on freaking tv? I would have watched. It would make more sense to start up in April.

  11. Florio, the UFL should be paying you for advertising for them. The only reason I ever had any interest in the league was because of your website.

  12. I agree with a couple of points:
    Yes dump the uniforms. It appeared as if some 7 year old was playing on his Madden game creating his own team and uniform. It’s hard to be taken serious when you dress like clowns.
    Marketing? It’s almost like you can hear Allen Iverson in the background. “Marketing. . . We’re talking about Marketing . . . not games . . . Marketing.” Part of Marketing would be advertising. If it wasn’t for this article, I wouldn’t have even known the UFL played.
    You know the sport isn’t taken too seriously when ESPN will show billiard trick shots and not a UFL game. Or Fox Sports will show a rock, scissors, tournament and not a game. And neither one showed any highlights. It’s hard to go to a game or watch a game if no one hears about it. Even the XFL did a better job at marketing their product.
    Which brings up the old adage: If they played a football game and didn’t tell anyone about it, would people show up.
    Finally, move it to the spring. The USFL did a great job when it wasn’t trying to compete with the NFL head on. It was when they moved to the fall did their problems truly begin.

  13. Didn’t the commish say they were going to have teams overseas in year 2? You can scratch that off the list. If they wanna make some news they should try to get Charlie Weis to be a coach.

  14. People, are we serious right now? If the Detroit Lions home games are blacked out, why would a squad of NFL rejects be appetizing? If you spent your whole life banking on playing pro football and can’t make it, it’s time to apply to your local Kroger store.

  15. There seems to be several people who have missed the mark here. The UFL is hoping for a future where they are a feeder league (minor leagues if you will) for the NFL. They may even be hoping to one day be gobbled up by the NFL or at least be subsidised by them. They were never looking to compete, in any way shape or form, with the NFL.

  16. Ned Mark. College football is the minor league for the NFL. I didn’t miss any mark and mean no harm to your post. HOWEVER, the UFL is attempting to capatilize on the NFL’s overflow to areas (most) which do not have an NFL team to cheer for. If I want to watch aspiring NFL players, I’ll watch college football, maybe even my nephews play in High School.

  17. Let me expound. Our country already has a professional football league. Try Canada. Maybe an American Football League in Mexico? I might pay to watch Juan facemask Pedro at the twenty yard line…

  18. # Love_Boat_Scandal says: November 30, 2009 7:32 PM
    Maybe the Vikings could play in the UFL. Oh wait, that won’t bring in more fans. Probably less. Skol tator-tot hotdish!
    shut your face bitch-tits, well over 100 consecutive sellouts.
    And for the haters, if you folks never watched a game, then kindly stfu. the games were not as bad as you might think. part of the reason, i believe, they stuck with a limited number of teams, was to keep the talent level up. the NFL wasnt built in a single season. they need to get a cycle going to build the league, and it could happen, who knows. they might be a few decades from ever being mentioned as the same breath as the NFL, but it all happens in time. if they can pull some talent that doesnt make it in the NFL, and some of the cream off the CFL, there is always a chance. plus it gives linemen and QB’s a place to develop. this is good for the sport as a whole.

  19. Dude you did it! The Mexican, American Football League. It’s an untapped source for revenue!
    They sell burritos instead of hotdogs.
    They Dos Equis instead of Bud Light.
    Every cheerleading team is called the Senioritas, and at half time they have a Donkey Show.
    You Da Man!
    Instead of the terrible towels, they have the terrible paper towels. Think about it. Brawny could sponsor certain games.
    Love ya kid!

  20. I see two HUGE problems. First of all, there is no way they will ever win going head to head with the NFL in the fall (not to mention the baseball playoffs and World Series) while those of us who are football junkies might enjoy the league in those football lean months from February to July.
    Also, not a single game was broadcast (to my knowledge) in my area so I could not have watched them if I had wanted to.
    Most people were not even aware there WAS another league going on.

  21. Honestly Florio the UFL owes you money. PFT.com is the only place and I mean ONLY PLACE that let me know the UFL exsisted(I have no clue how to spell that word). I did not hear about it on tv, on the radio, on the internet, in a magazine, or even a newspaper. The only place I got news about what was going on in the UFL or even when the games were playing was on this website.
    Seeing that PFT is now legit you should really demand that their expansion in marketing should include your website. You did it already for free for a year you should get some kind of monitary gain from the UFL seeing that you supported them and helped get the word out about them.
    They better pay you to b/c if you stopped posting about them they would probly lose half their viewers. Not out of loyalty to pft but b/c know one would no the UFL was still around.

  22. The Useless Football League is dead.
    Nation 86 AKA Johnny Gumdrops your league and your dream of becoming a UFL slave is gone.
    Go get your shinebox Huck Finn.

  23. Did I miss something or was the UFL not covered by media like ESPN? I don’t think i ever saw highlights or anything anywhere…if the media wants you to fail, most likely you will fail…

  24. Whats with all the hating on the UFL?
    Yes, their uniforms are horrible and yes they are retarded for not playing in the spring when somebody might actually care, but it is still foootball and football is awesome.
    Seriously UFL, I don’t know who the dumbass is who decided to play in the fall but he should be fired.

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