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JH42XCC

Resurrection of the USFL

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Oh, and Brian? Like it or not, the NFL has no authority whatsoever with regard to stadium lease arrangements, in Columbus or anywhere else.

No doubt. That said, Mac... it would be the height of naivete to believe that the NFL doesn't have the collective ear of the Hunt family.

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.

Again, the "pressure" that NFL executives and the Hunts' fellow NFL owners would put on the Hunt family wouldn't be aimed at trying to legally block Hunt Sports Group's leases at Columbus Crew Stadium. It would simply be an organized, terse and officially unspoken indication that materially aiding another outdoor pro football league wouldn' be appreciated by the NFL.

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

Said competitor football league would have to be able to prove that the NFL had leaned upon the NFL ownership group that was in a position to lease a stadium to the competitors in order to win a lawsuit. That would likely be far more difficult than you make it out to be.

In any event, as I opined, perhaps the NFL has no problem with a family like the Hunts leasing a stadium they own to a franchise in an alternative outdoor football league because the NFL doesn't foresee such an entity being a threat in any way, shape and form.

Where I fully agree with you Mac is your assessment of queman and Herk's thought that such a league would be well-served by launching with franchises limited to those communities with no major pro sports (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL... I'll even throw in the AFL, MLL, NLL and WNBA for good measure) amongst the bottom half of the Top 50 media markets. Hartford, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, Harrisburg, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Albuquerque, Greensboro, Austin and Louisville don't strike me as a recipe for success. Hell, even if you add-in those markets with just one other major pro team (Raleigh, Grand Rapids, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville and Memphis), you're looking at a bankrupt league in short order.

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Oh, and Brian? Like it or not, the NFL has no authority whatsoever with regard to stadium lease arrangements, in Columbus or anywhere else.

No doubt. That said, Mac... it would be the height of naivete to believe that the NFL doesn't have the collective ear of the Hunt family.

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.

Again, the "pressure" that NFL executives and the Hunts' fellow NFL owners would put on the Hunt family wouldn't be aimed at trying to legally block Hunt Sports Group's leases at Columbus Crew Stadium. It would simply be an organized, terse and officially unspoken indication that materially aiding another outdoor pro football league wouldn' be appreciated by the NFL.

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

Said competitor football league would have to be able to prove that the NFL had leaned upon the NFL ownership group that was in a position to lease a stadium to the competitors in order to win a lawsuit. That would likely be far more difficult than you make it out to be.

In any event, as I opined, perhaps the NFL has no problem with a family like the Hunts leasing a stadium they own to a franchise in an alternative outdoor football league because the NFL doesn't foresee such an entity being a threat in any way, shape and form.

Where I fully agree with you Mac is your assessment of queman and Herk's thought that such a league would be well-served by launching with franchises limited to those communities with no major pro sports (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL... I'll even throw in the AFL, MLL, NLL and WNBA for good measure) amongst the bottom half of the Top 50 media markets. Hartford, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, Harrisburg, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Albuquerque, Greensboro, Austin and Louisville don't strike me as a recipe for success. Hell, even if you add-in those markets with just one other major pro team (Raleigh, Grand Rapids, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville and Memphis), you're looking at a bankrupt league in short order.

Well, with respect to a lawsuit the only thing in the Columbus case that would have to be proven is that there was some form of discriminatory or collusional practice going on with respect to leasing of the stadium; and as Columbus Crew Stadium is already being used by high school and small college football games, there's no potential legal reason its operators could say no to any group bringing forth the proper rental fee and otherwise meeting its normal rental covenants.

But yeah, we agree with respect to markets, but anyone launching a new league would need to have a realistic yardstick for success - say, 20,000 per game paid attendance in year one, growing to 40,000 or so over the course of a decade - and would need to be prepared to take the kind of financial hits that would be forthcoming in building that brand. A lot of folks laugh about MLS on different fronts, but in reality they're the 21st century model for building a new sports venture - bring in well-heeled ownership groups who spend rationally but still realize they are going to lose tons of money building the brand; and envision where the league will be 25 years down the road rather than 5.

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Well, with respect to a lawsuit the only thing in the Columbus case that would have to be proven is that there was some form of discriminatory or collusional practice going on with respect to leasing of the stadium; and as Columbus Crew Stadium is already being used by high school and small college football games, there's no potential legal reason its operators could say no to any group bringing forth the proper rental fee and otherwise meeting its normal rental covenants.

Yes, but how many of those high school and college football games are one-off events? That is, how many high school and college football teams are playing the entire multiple-game, home portion of their season at Columbus Crew Stadium the way that an alternative pro football league will be seeking to? Also, when are those high school and college football games taking place? Are they being played in the Fall, when Columbus Crew Stadium's primary tenant - the Crew - have all but completed their MLS schedule? By contrast, when would this potential alternative pro football league be playing? Spring-Summer... in other words, during the height of the Crew's season? If so, stadium management could say that they've refused to lease the facility to the pro football team because of concern over the impact that the wear-and-tear on the field would have on the primary tenant.

A lot of folks laugh about MLS on different fronts, but in reality they're the 21st century model for building a new sports venture - bring in well-heeled ownership groups who spend rationally but still realize they are going to lose tons of money building the brand; and envision where the league will be 25 years down the road rather than 5.

Yes, but it was likely easier to get someone to buy-in to the idea that MLS would establish itself as the top-tier soccer league in the United States and Canada over 25 years than it would be to get someone to invest millions of dollars and a quarter-century in the hopes of establishing a second-tier pro football league that will most likely always be chasing the NFL in terms of relevance. And that opinion is coming from someone who was a season-ticket holder for the Boston Breakers. :D

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Well, according to the league's website, the new USFL has awarded franchises to...

Northwest Division

Los Angeles

Las Vegas

Portland

San Antonio

San Jose

One open spot could go to Dallas, Houston or Salt Lake City.

South-East Division

Baton Rouge

Little Rock

New York (West Point)

Orlando

Two open spots could go to Alabama, Cincinnati, Memphis, Mississippi or New Jersey.

I'll believe it when I see it.

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Boston Breakers. :D

best helmet ever.

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Boston Breakers. :D

best helmet ever.

I preferred the Portland Breakers helmet myself...

And speaking of Portland, when it says that Portland has been awarded a franchise, is that just "we want to put a team there, so we hope something happens" or "we have credible ownership in place and are working on a deal to play at PGE"?

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Its not going to matter this league wont last more than 2 years just like the last time

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Its not going to matter this league wont last more than 2 years just like the last time

The original lasted three there, Sparky...

Well then....this one wont last three Sparky!!

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I demand day-glo jerseys for all!

Or, at the very least, an Orlando Thunder neon green and a SoCal Sun magenta.

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A lot of folks laugh about MLS on different fronts, but in reality they're the 21st century model for building a new sports venture - bring in well-heeled ownership groups who spend rationally but still realize they are going to lose tons of money building the brand; and envision where the league will be 25 years down the road rather than 5.

Yes, but it was likely easier to get someone to buy-in to the idea that MLS would establish itself as the top-tier soccer league in the United States and Canada over 25 years than it would be to get someone to invest millions of dollars and a quarter-century in the hopes of establishing a second-tier pro football league that will most likely always be chasing the NFL in terms of relevance. And that opinion is coming from someone who was a season-ticket holder for the Boston Breakers. :D

Exactly.

I agree that the business model adopted by MLS was smart (especially when they proved adaptable and realized that their on-field "innovations" were harming the product). But their goal was very different than that of this new USFL.

MLS was trying to establish the top-flight league in their sport in this country. That's a far cry from trying to carve out a tiny niche in an exceptionally crowded marketplace.

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A lot of folks laugh about MLS on different fronts, but in reality they're the 21st century model for building a new sports venture - bring in well-heeled ownership groups who spend rationally but still realize they are going to lose tons of money building the brand; and envision where the league will be 25 years down the road rather than 5.

Yes, but it was likely easier to get someone to buy-in to the idea that MLS would establish itself as the top-tier soccer league in the United States and Canada over 25 years than it would be to get someone to invest millions of dollars and a quarter-century in the hopes of establishing a second-tier pro football league that will most likely always be chasing the NFL in terms of relevance. And that opinion is coming from someone who was a season-ticket holder for the Boston Breakers. :D

Exactly.

I agree that the business model adopted by MLS was smart (especially when they proved adaptable and realized that their on-field "innovations" were harming the product). But their goal was very different than that of this new USFL.

MLS was trying to establish the top-flight league in their sport in this country. That's a far cry from trying to carve out a tiny niche in an exceptionally crowded marketplace.

Oh, no argument on those points - it's just that for any new pro football league to 'make it,' it had better have an ownership group with the MLS-like mindset of building over a very, very long term. Anyone going into professional football who thinks, within at least its first decade of operation, they're going to force a merger with the NFL or even compete on a similar playing field economically with it is either delusional, or has Bill Gates-like money he could throw at such an endeavor just to make it work.

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MMMM...I think its a longshot for this league to even start a season.

This site reminds me of the WHA resurrection several years ago during the NHL lockout. :blink:

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What about the AAFL? This is another league that hopes to start up in 2009. Haven't these idiots figured it out yet? There is only going to be one successful outdoor American football league and that's the NFL, now and forever. Even if they go to cities without NFL people still probably won't care.

The only way I think another league could ever succeed is if it is a full blown minor league system, with affiliate teams being in close proximity to the big teams(i.e. Miami's affiliate being in Palm Beach, Naples, or Ft. Lauderdale). The fans close enough to root for a team but not close enough to go to the games would be able to see pro football or some sort, plus it would give reserves(such as 3rd string QBs who never play) a chance to get game playing time. They could play the games during the week and have weekly call-ups(like having the 3rd string QB play during the week and be there on Sundays just in case). Think of the TV ratings for NFL network and ESPN with football all week long.

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The only way I think another league could ever succeed is if it is a full blown minor league system, with affiliate teams being in close proximity to the big teams(i.e. Miami's affiliate being in Palm Beach, Naples, or Ft. Lauderdale). The fans close enough to root for a team but not close enough to go to the games would be able to see pro football or some sort, plus it would give reserves(such as 3rd string QBs who never play) a chance to get game playing time. They could play the games during the week and have weekly call-ups(like having the 3rd string QB play during the week and be there on Sundays just in case). Think of the TV ratings for NFL network and ESPN with football all week long.

That strikes me as a really interesting idea. The primary drawback might be that reserves (ex., 3rd string QBs) would be practicing with their affiliate team all week instead of the parent team, which could leave them ill-prepared if they are forced into action. The other concern would be finding enough players to field 32 farm teams. It might work better if teams shared affiliates (ex., Ravens and Redskins sharing a team in Annapolis, Eagles and Steelers sharing a team in Harrisburg).

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Here's what I came up with regarding the above idea. I'm trying to pair up each AFC team with an NFC team.

West Division

San Jose (49ers and Raiders)

Los Angeles or Las Vegas (Chargers and Cardinals)

Salt Lake City or Boise (Seahawks and Broncos)

San Antonio or Austin (Cowboys and Texans)

South Division

Orlando (Dolphins and Buccaneers)

Columbia, SC (Panthers and Jaguars)

Knoxville (Falcons and Bengals)

Birmingham or Memphis (Titans and Saints)

North Division

Toledo (Browns and Lions)

Champaign (Bears and Colts)

Columbia, MO (Rams and Chiefs)

Toronto (Bills and Packers)

East Division

Annapolis (Ravens and Redskins)

somewhere in Pennsylvania (Eagles and Steelers)

East Rutherford, NJ (Giants and Jets)

Montreal (Patriots and Vikings)

Some of these locations make a lot more sense than others.

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