Despite financial struggles, UFL will play on

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.

15 responses to “Despite financial struggles, UFL will play on

  1. Not having a television deal will kill it. I’d like to see the NFL pick them up as a “minor league”. But, we’ll see.

  2. I’d like to see it be a Spring league. Starting right after the NFL draft and ending around the 4th of July.

  3. The league already had a minor league called the World Legue/NFL Europe/NFL Europa that they didn’t want to keep funding. Plus, why would they pay money for the UFL rather than just start their own minor league for free, should they so wish?

  4. I have season tickets to the Colonials (yeah rip on me, whatever it’s a fun time and you can get drunk) and I think it would be a shame if the UFL folded. It’s a good family experience and a good opportunity for lesser known players to make their names known. I mean I pay $140 for two season ticket seats front row. It’s good football people! All these players have some legit experience and I really encourage everyone to at least try a game before they rip on it.

  5. it’s a fun time and you can get drunk).. It’s a good family experience…… Well… [If you live in a family composed of gorillas ] !!

  6. @vetdana actually we are chimpanzees but we are sophisticated chimpanzees dammit!

  7. A psuedo-pro league that touted Colt Brennan as “an ex-NFL superstar” in a press release deserves to lose millions.

    Simply put, Colt Brennan sucks and there’s a reason he flopped on 3 NFL teams (counting his Texans tryout).

    I want the UFL to work, but unless the NFL buys in, forget it…’s over.

    And a five team league is about as cool as a WNBA develpment league.

  8. I think the NFL should suck the UFL up, treat it as a minor league system like what baseball has (tho maybe not as many “levels”). Teams could move folks up/down like in baseball, etc. The minor league teams could be based in smaller markets, just like in baseball. It’s always been cool seeing some guy fight up the ranks for a few years in baseball to finally make it to the big leagues….the NFL should move to that sort of system – will save the league money, lower ticket prices, and also keep people like Jabustus Russel from getting into the NFL.

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