So, yeah, here comes another set of well-intentioned but ultimately misguided souls who think they’re going to launch another alternative professional football league. Better yet, it’s supposedly going to carry the name of one of my all-time favorites, the USFL.
I loved the United States Football League – warts and all (and there were a lot of them). Lived and died with the Tampa Bay Bandits. Great times for a 17-20 year old.
But people keep trying to do this despite the fact that none of the others ever survive because it’s simply too expensive to launch a pro football league now. The UFL - they’re never going to play a game, no matter what Mark Cuban thinks. The AAFL came close enough to have a draft and unveil uniforms and stuff and then they
went away postponed their start (and I doubt we’ll ever see them, either). We all know what happened to the XFL (man, that was seven years ago now).
You can’t do it. It can’t be done. The economics are all off. You can’t generate enough income to offset the incredible startup costs (football’s got to be the most expensive sport to actually pull off) and the ongoing costs of doing business (just player salaries and workman’s comp alone will kill you before you step on an airplane), and you can forget about a pot of gold from television. There’s already too much football bought and paid for on TV.
Sure, there are players out there. The difference between the guys who’ll get released in the NFL’s cutdown to 53 players and the guys who’ll be the last few kept is not that large.
Sure, there are markets out there who would like to have a professional football team – some of them might even embrace it in the spring to the point where they could draw some people.
Sure, there are people like me who like football, and if you put it on television, would probably watch at least a bit. And if we had a team nearby, might even go.
But there’s not enough money to make it work. Not for the UFL, not for the AAFL and not for the new USFL. It’s been 23 years now. The USFL ain’t coming back.
*Yet Another Failed Football League
(Yes, you could substitute another word for “Failed” and it would make just as much sense.)