UFL Passing on '08 Start Date

Categories: Sports

Sure, you've already forgotten about the United Football League -- it's already a distant memory, less than a year after The New York Times broke the news of the upstart football league set to bow this August with eight teams in non-NFL towns. Turns out, it's not dead -- it's just gotten a little ... smaller, from eight teams to six. And it won't debut till 2009, if that early. And out of the four alleged owners of franchises, we still only know the name of one: Mark Cuban, who's said to have dibs on the Las Vegas team. (Last May, Cuban wrote on his blog that "the NFL wants and needs competition.")

Last October, the UFL announced a dozen cities being considered for teams -- two of them being Austin and San Antonio, with Oklahoma City also in the running. (Also mentioned: Birmingham, Columbus, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Orlando, Raleigh and Sacramento.) After the jump, some highlights from the subscription-only story in today's San Francisco Business Times. --Robert Wilonsky

Each team in the league will have a $20 million salary cap and play Friday nights, ceding Sunday to the NFL's stranglehold on that day ...

[Bill] Hambrecht and other UFL backers, including Google Inc. senior executive Tim Armstrong, said their league can succeed because it will attract patient investors and top player talent. Plus, "there are a lot of markets that are bigger than some current NFL markets that do not have teams that would love to have a pro football team," Cuban wrote in his blog.

Some sports business experts said Cuban could have a point about demand... NFL franchise values and broadcast rights deals continue to rise, suggesting demand for the product, said Paul Staudohar, a professor of business administration at California State University, East Bay who studies pro sports.

But he questions whether "fans will follow an inferior version of (the NFL)."


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