Last week, we listed 10 things you might want to consider doing on Sundays if the NFL were to endure a long-term work stoppage. Watching the United Football League was not on that list, mainly because the UFL is fledgling and hasn’t grown enough to win most football fans over.
But UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue is excited about their third season, despite the fact the league’s in debt.
ESPN.com’s Greg Garber reports that the league lost over $80 million in its first two seasons. They owe creditors about $5 million and are now being sued by one of their original investors, Mark Cuban.
“People never thought we could launch or play in the fall,” Huyghue told Garber, “or get good players, that there’d be no space on TV for us. Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.”
But because of those aforementioned financial troubles, they’ll once again go with five teams in 2011. That’s their biggest problem. It’s very hard to take a professional sports league seriously when it has only five franchises competing annually. Even the Canadian Football League has at least eight teams each year.
Huyghue was reluctant to state that an NFL lockout would save his league, but noted that “if people turn off to the billionaires-versus-millionaires argument, that creates an opportunity for a league like ours. It could benefit us incredibly.”
Honestly, NFL football is just too far ahead of UFL and CFL football for me to simply shift my focus to them. I’ll find non-football things to do in the case of a lockout. The way I see it, the only way the UFL will take a big step forward as a result of a work stoppage is if NFL players jump ship to help pay the bills.
“Listen, $10,000 a week is better than nothing when you need to pay for that Porsche and Mercedes,” said Huyghue.
If that happens and the league can find a way to convince a network to take a chance on it for a short stint, the UFL might be the biggest winner of this labour train wreck.