Can professional football withstand a return run by the USFL?

The Football Educator’s guest blogger Evan Brennan gives his take on the move to bring back the USFL.

The USFL Returns and Offers College Players Another Option

Do you remember the USFL? Yes, the league from 1983-1987 that once boasted future NFL stars such as Steve Young, Doug Flutie, Hershel Walker, and Reggie White. The same league that sued the NFL for violating the anti-monopoly laws and won $1 from the suits and then was tripled in treble damages to $3. Yes, the same league that folded in 1987 when it had lost a report $187 million.

We’re back!

Well, that league is back . . . well, sort of. According to the newly launched, EndZone Sports Management purchased the trademarks for the league and plans for it play annually from March to June in a model that is not be a rival of the NFL, but as a direct supporting minor league system.

The league intends to target cities where there are no current NFL teams, but enjoy strong collegiate football support such as Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Portland, Columbus, Memphis, and Raleigh. The USFL also plans to have a system where all contracts and salaries of players are owned by the league and not the individual teams, a system that has proved to be successful for a growing league such as Major League Soccer.

According to an report, NFL Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff has joined a number of former NFL executives to form the advisory board for the new league, an obvious attempt to add legitimacy, experience, and savoir-faire to the enterprise.

Let me out!

Most advantageous to agents and players who either were waived by NFL teams as veterans or who were not able to make a team a as rookie, is the fact that there will be complete open access to the NFL and will be allowed to leave for the NFL whenever they want. According to NBC Sports, players are scheduled $3,000 to $3,500 a game, which is far more substantial than what other non-NFL leagues such as the Arena Football League offer.

A lot of questions to answer

With these advantages available to players who had limited options if the NFL was not immediately interested in them, the USFL could be a great choice for players and agents a like trying to find their clients a suitable landing spot. There is still much to be worked out such as a TV deal (which greatly hurt USFL predecessor, the UFL) and other huge organizational issues, coaching positions, etc. But if the bold and intriguing declarations do come to full fruition, there is much to be excited about for many professional football hopefuls in the coming months and years.

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  1. The new USFL, in order to survive at the league level, would have to create new revenue streams besides tickets, concessions, parking, local sponsors, and TV revenue due to the high “hard costs” of running a football team. Items like intellectual property, affiliate programs for merchandise, and finding ways to monetize internet traffic should go a long way toward helping.

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