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Resurrection of the USFL

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It wasn't taken that way, Quantum, don't worry; you didn't step on anyone's toes.

And Island? Are you implying that I have some secret leadership role within this new venture or something... one that might lead to asking for freebie logos for the league's teams in the future?

Damn, I was just joking. Calm down. It was at the expense of the USFL, not you.

So was I, Island... relax. :D

LOL, My fault, Mac.

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

For some reason, Shreveport comes to mind . . . a city that would be unknown outside of Louisiana if not for upstart football leagues. But I'm just guessin'.

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

For some reason, Shreveport comes to mind . . . a city that would be unknown outside of Louisiana if not for upstart football leagues. But I'm just guessin'.

And the Liberty Bowl.

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

For some reason, Shreveport comes to mind . . . a city that would be unknown outside of Louisiana if not for upstart football leagues. But I'm just guessin'.

And the Liberty Bowl.

I believe you mean the Poulan WeedEater (or whoever the current title sponsor may be) Independence Bowl.

It has always been a favorite among the boosters. "Woohoo!!! We're following the [iNSERT COLLEGE NICKNAME HERE] to Shreveport!!!!1111eleven"

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And the Liberty Bowl.

That's Memphis, where second-tier professional football franchises also go to die.

Now Legion Field, that's... oh, wait.

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And the Liberty Bowl.

That's Memphis, where second-tier professional football franchises also go to die.

Now Legion Field, that's... where's teams in second-tier leagues usually do okay, only to be dragged down by the league around them.

Completed your thought for you.

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And the Liberty Bowl.

That's Memphis, where second-tier professional football franchises also go to die.

Now Legion Field, that's... where's teams in second-tier leagues usually do okay, only to be dragged down by the league around them.

Completed your thought for you.

True on the Americans/Vulcans and Stallions. But I thought the Fire and Barracudas never did much of anything, and didn't the Bolts' attendance nosedive after the first home game, when the stadium notably ran out of beer?

Another sign this league is destined to go kablooey: no preseason. Has no one learned that putting a league onto the field cold results in 4 weeks of awful football that turns off a good chunk of your audience? Here's what you do. Have every team play 2 preseason games - 1 home, 1 road. Tickets are 5 or 10 bucks for everyone. Give fans a chance to get to know the team and the league without having to make the full financial commitment. Charge full-price for the concessions, and have an abundance of season ticket and merchandise booths set up around the stadium.

The preseason (while 4 games is too long, IMO) is essential for a new league to warm up both its teams and its fanbase. Skip it, and you've got a foot in the grave.

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

For some reason, Shreveport comes to mind . . . a city that would be unknown outside of Louisiana if not for upstart football leagues. But I'm just guessin'.

Believe it or not, you'd still be shooting a little on the 'high' side there with that guess, at least in terms of population.

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Another sign this league is destined to go kablooey: no preseason. Has no one learned that putting a league onto the field cold results in 4 weeks of awful football that turns off a good chunk of your audience? Here's what you do. Have every team play 2 preseason games - 1 home, 1 road. Tickets are 5 or 10 bucks for everyone. Give fans a chance to get to know the team and the league without having to make the full financial commitment. Charge full-price for the concessions, and have an abundance of season ticket and merchandise booths set up around the stadium.

The preseason (while 4 games is too long, IMO) is essential for a new league to warm up both its teams and its fanbase. Skip it, and you've got a foot in the grave.

Personally if I were launching a new league and had carte blanche, I'd have the teams play 6 preseason weeks before a regular season game, then play a 14-game inaugural season. Two games isn't really enough for a team to gel on the field when starting from scratch, and none is downright disastrous. I'd also lock out TV from the preseason entirely - let the product develop before showing it. For the second season, scale the preseason back to 4 preseason games with a 16-game season, then in year three go to 2 preseason games and an 18-game season.

As for franchise locations, I wouldn't touch anything outside of the top 50 media markets in the U.S. and maybe the top 2-3 in Canada unless there was a really compelling reason to do so; but regardless of where they were placed I'd have one caveat - no stadia with capacities exceeding 25,000 for at least the first three years. There's no sense in paying $200,000 per home date to rent RayJay in Tampa (never mind how I know that it costs that much; suffice it to say that I do) and have it sit half (or more) empty, when you could almost certainly get a smaller facility with suitable capacity and accommodations at a much lower cost per gameday. Columbus Ohio would be an excellent example - sure you could probably rent Ohio Stadium with it's 90,000-plus capacity, but why would you when you could get Columbus Crew Stadium - which would be perfectly suitable for football and would provide a far more intimate setting for games - for probably 1/4 or 1/2 the cost?

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

For some reason, Shreveport comes to mind . . . a city that would be unknown outside of Louisiana if not for upstart football leagues. But I'm just guessin'.

Believe it or not, you'd still be shooting a little on the 'high' side there with that guess, at least in terms of population.

Lafayette?(!)

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Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose...and Baton Rogue???

You can't put franchises where potential majority owners don't want them. Without going into any specifics, Baton Rouge is actually an improvement over at least one site that was under consideration. Or, well, ahem, that's the rumor.

For some reason, Shreveport comes to mind . . . a city that would be unknown outside of Louisiana if not for upstart football leagues. But I'm just guessin'.

Believe it or not, you'd still be shooting a little on the 'high' side there with that guess, at least in terms of population.

Lafayette?(!)

Houma?

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How does a new league like this convince consumers that their product is worth their money, especially with the lineage of failed spring football leagues in its wake? I mean, it's nice to be passionate about the game and all, but it takes a lot more than that to kick-start a football league.

I just don't understand the logic behind start-up leagues anymore. How many times do these things have to fail before someone gets the point?

I hate being such a pessimist, because I'd really like to see it work. I genuinely hoped the XFL would have survived. But I just don't see why anybody would embark on what will obviously be a disaster.

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How does a new league like this convince consumers that their product is worth their money, especially with the lineage of failed spring football leagues in its wake? I mean, it's nice to be passionate about the game and all, but it takes a lot more than that to kick-start a football league.

I just don't understand the logic behind start-up leagues anymore. How many times do these things have to fail before someone gets the point?

I hate being such a pessimist, because I'd really like to see it work. I genuinely hoped the XFL would have survived. But I just don't see why anybody would embark on what will obviously be a disaster.

If you can make it work, the payoff would be huge. The problem these leagues have is a lack of patience (especially in adhering to the business plan) and a lack of funds to ride out the first few seasons. Instant success will not happen. American football is an expensive venture and you need a large scale following to recoup the investment. I don't believe there are as many hard core football fans as many seem to think. Most people want a change of pace, so football in the spring will never have the following to challenge the NFL.

The USFL IMO was the last legitimate shot at challenging the NFL. If they would have stuck to their business plan, they had a chance at establishing a niche following with a profit. I am skeptical that the new USFL will succeed, but I certainly understand their motivation.

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... when you could get Columbus Crew Stadium - which would be perfectly suitable for football and would provide a far more intimate setting for games - for probably 1/4 or 1/2 the cost?

Well, you're assuming that Hunt Sports Group would be open to leasing Columbus Crew Stadium to a professional football league, regardless of whether or not said football league had any ties to the NFL. After all, the Hunts also own the Kansas City Chiefs. I'd say that the only way the Hunts would lease Crew Stadium to a pro football team is if the NFL gave said deal its blessing. I don't see that happening unless the NFL is absolutely certain that said venture poses no threat whatsoever to its product.

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... when you could get Columbus Crew Stadium - which would be perfectly suitable for football and would provide a far more intimate setting for games - for probably 1/4 or 1/2 the cost?

Well, you're assuming that Hunt Sports Group would be open to leasing Columbus Crew Stadium to a professional football league, regardless of whether or not said football league had any ties to the NFL. After all, the Hunts also own the Kansas City Chiefs. I'd say that the only way the Hunts would lease Crew Stadium to a pro football team is if the NFL gave said deal its blessing. I don't see that happening unless the NFL is absolutely certain that said venture poses no threat whatsoever to its product.

They would; without going into detail, let's just say I know it for a fact. The NFL doesn't have a market in Columbus, so there are no conflicts.

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They would; without going into detail, let's just say I know it for a fact. The NFL doesn't have a market in Columbus, so there are no conflicts.

I don't doubt your knowledge of the specific situation, but it strikes me as awfully strange that the Hunt's NFL brethren would have no problem with a non-NFL-affiliated league setting-up shop in a stadium owned by an NFL franchise-holder.

There would be no marketplace conflict between a Columbus-based franchise in an alternative football league and the NFL since, as you point out, the NFL doesn't have currently a team in the city. That said, the fact remains that an NFL owner would be leasing a facility to a franchise in a league that plans to generate revenue playing professional outdoor football... just as the NFL does. Will no other franchises in the league share a market with an NFL team? Will the alternative league guarantee that it has no designs on ever moving to a fall season that would put it in more direct competition with the NFL? Is it an absolute certainty that the NFL will never be in a position where it wishes to expand/relocate a franchise to Columbus?

Bottom line? I don't understand why the NFL would allow a franchisee to provide material help to the ownership of a team in a league seeking to make money in the same industry. Unless the NFL is virtually certain that the new league will never reach the level of truly challenging the NFL in any way, shape or form - which is most likely the case - and simply figures that one of their NFL brethren can make a few bucks at the upstart league's expense.

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Another sign this league is destined to go kablooey: no preseason. Has no one learned that putting a league onto the field cold results in 4 weeks of awful football that turns off a good chunk of your audience? Here's what you do. Have every team play 2 preseason games - 1 home, 1 road. Tickets are 5 or 10 bucks for everyone. Give fans a chance to get to know the team and the league without having to make the full financial commitment. Charge full-price for the concessions, and have an abundance of season ticket and merchandise booths set up around the stadium.

The preseason (while 4 games is too long, IMO) is essential for a new league to warm up both its teams and its fanbase. Skip it, and you've got a foot in the grave.

Personally if I were launching a new league and had carte blanche, I'd have the teams play 6 preseason weeks before a regular season game, then play a 14-game inaugural season. Two games isn't really enough for a team to gel on the field when starting from scratch, and none is downright disastrous. I'd also lock out TV from the preseason entirely - let the product develop before showing it. For the second season, scale the preseason back to 4 preseason games with a 16-game season, then in year three go to 2 preseason games and an 18-game season.

As for franchise locations, I wouldn't touch anything outside of the top 50 media markets in the U.S. and maybe the top 2-3 in Canada unless there was a really compelling reason to do so; but regardless of where they were placed I'd have one caveat - no stadia with capacities exceeding 25,000 for at least the first three years. There's no sense in paying $200,000 per home date to rent RayJay in Tampa (never mind how I know that it costs that much; suffice it to say that I do) and have it sit half (or more) empty, when you could almost certainly get a smaller facility with suitable capacity and accommodations at a much lower cost per gameday. Columbus Ohio would be an excellent example - sure you could probably rent Ohio Stadium with it's 90,000-plus capacity, but why would you when you could get Columbus Crew Stadium - which would be perfectly suitable for football and would provide a far more intimate setting for games - for probably 1/4 or 1/2 the cost?

I think you are correct for the most part. But I think they should focus on the bottom half of the top 50 media markets, and focus on areas with limited access to any pro sports teams. You would get more media focus on the team and more corporate support since that dollar wouldn't be diluted by other sports. Plus small markets are less skeptical of small time pro sports. Once you made the product strong and profitable then you could expand into bigger markets if needed. Or be happy with the niche you created, if developed properly a spring football league could be successful. Most successful ventures start small and grow.

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Gueman, you make a great point about starting up in the smaller top 50 markets where the USFL would be the only (or at least biggest) game in town. I thought that was one of the strengths of the AAFL's markets, the fact that outside of college sports, all of those cities had no pro sports teams.

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And you guys, if owners, would be among the first that would get the privilege of declaring bankruptcy for your franchises... :)

Oh, and Brian? Like it or not, the NFL has no authority whatsoever with regard to stadium lease arrangements, in Columbus or anywhere else. They theoretically could apply pressure to the franchise, but it'd get them nowhere as the lease agreements are handled by an entity unrelated (in most if not all cases) than the NFL franchise itself. Even if they did however, the timeline would go something along the lines of:

- NFL leans on franchise, who's owners also control local stadium

- Owners deny competitor opportunity to use facility

- Competitor holds press conference, making NFL look bad

- Competitor files lawsuit, making NFL look REALLY bad

- Competitor wins lawsuit as facility is (almost invariably) built with public funds, making NFL look downright foolish

- NFL pays sizable sum to Competitor, AND has to let it use its facility

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