Monday, March 9, 2009
United they'll fall
Remember the XFL, the hideous joint venture between NBC and the World Wrestling Federation? Remember its Saturday evening games? Remember "He Hate Me"?
Apparently, Michael Huyghue, commissioner of the soon-to-be United Football League, doesn't remember how horribly the league bombed after one miserable season. Because if he did, there is no way the UFL would be on anyone's mind.
The NFL is huge, and nobody will dispute that. But spin off leagues don't work, especially not in these rough economic times. Arena Football couldn't sustain itself (the AFL has canceled its 2009 season), nor could NFL Europe. When people are forced to be tight with their money, sub-par "professional" sports have no audience.
Back to the UFL...
The league plans to begin its season in October 2009 with a total of four teams. Yes, just 4. As in, the same amount of teams in the NFC East. As in, far too few to have anything resembling a season. How is this seriously going to work? The season's first game will double as conference championship week, with week two being their version of the Super Bowl. Either that, or the teams will have to play each other five times (which they will - current plans are for a six game schedule).
Originally the league had planned to start in August '09 but pushed its start back to October to allow more time to attract owner-investors, negotiate TV broadcasting deals, and build league branding. In other words, there is no interest whatsoever, but somebody with deep pockets really thinks this thing will work.
Vince McMahon thought the same about the XFL - ask him how that turned out.
The league's motto is "Where Future Stars Come to Play". But the only thing you can count on seeing are "Guys you sort of remember being decent in low college ball." I know I'm not the only one envisioning Michael Vick's name all over the UFL record books.
Visit the official website of this disaster here.