Starting a new football league, especially one that plans to play their games in the fall versus the NFL and College Football doesn’t seem likely to have a lot of success. However the folks running the UFL seem confident that they can run their league using a lot of principles learned by other minor league sports.
First and foremost this league is being backed by a lot of big money. Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, is the owner of the California Redwoods. William Mayer, a prominent Wall Street investment banker, will own the New York Sentinels. On top of that the Tampa Bay Rays have bought an ownership stake in the Florida Tuskers and will host at least one of their home games at Tropicana Field.
The UFL will also have its games broadcast on the Cable channel Versus. Since Versus is owned by Comcast Cable we can add that organization, who happen to own the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers, to the list of UFL supporters.
While having NHL games on Versus is somewhat a joke in most sports circles, having UFL games there is a major win for the league. Versus is now the home of all American Fringe sports, it broadcasts the NHL, Indy Racing League and now the UFL.
Mark Cuban is also involved in this league; his HDNET channel will broadcast several UFL games in their inaugural season. There are also rumors that Cuban will own a franchise should this league reach season two.
Clearly this league has big money behind it, but they also seem to understand that they will have to work extra hard to generate revenue.
To that end the UFL has signed a deal with ANC sports to have that company produce unique content on over 456 feet of field level LED signage. This signage will not only feature tremendous ad space for the league but will also offer fans unique looks at stats and in game content that will make the UFL very fan appealing.
Using this method, much how Minor League baseball teams give away free programs to sell ad space, should help this league generate a lot of ad revenue. Many companies would like to see their ads reach a few thousand eyes every time they are featured on these field level displays.
The UFL has also signed a deal with Stubhub.com and that company will come on board as a major sponsor for the league and the official second-hand selling spot for all UFL tickets.
In the end we just don’t know how well this league will do, but it appears that they have enough big money behind them to at least have more initial success than Vince McMahon’s XFL had.