Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The ghosts of pending failure rattle for American league

The football graveyard of America may be about to claim yet another victim, with news that the United Football League has delayed the launch of its 2011 season by at least a month, a move that has many in the US predicting that the end is nigh.

In a letter published on the league's website on Tuesday, UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue outlined the latest developments in the financials of the five member league, pointing to what he called the "destabilizing, negative impact through the professional sports industry", an uncertainty he attributed to the labour troubles of the NFL and NBA this summer.

He advised that those players and coaches that had arrived in the UFL cities have departed for a few weeks while the league retools its training camp plans and redraws its proposed schedule.

A reference that kind of gives one the feeling of someone whistling by a graveyard and leaves the impression that the idea of football in such locales as Las Vegas, Hartford, Omaha, Sacramento and Virginia may have to go forward without the UFL.

Like the World Football League, USFL and World League of American Football and even the CFL's US experience before it, the UFL was launched to fill what its investors believed was a void in the American football frontier, an opinion which perhaps was a little optimistic, as the allure of the UFL never seemed to catch on.

Americans have but three real love affairs when it comes to football, there's the NFL, NCAA and the stuff of legend on Friday Night Lights, high school football.

Much as those who invested in the ghosts of the past, the UFL has quickly found that cracking that loyal fan support of the trinity of pigskin is a very hard thing to accomplish.

The prospects for the UFL perhaps might have been a little bit brighter had recent developments in the NFL labour dispute not indicated that a settlement is close and the NFL more than likely will put in a full season in 2011-12, one has to wonder if the delayed season of the UFL will ever come to pass, as it goes head to head with one of the most successful of sports league in the world.

While the CFL continues to carve out a niche with the viewing public in the USA through the broadcast of CFL games on the NFL network, the UFL while on the HD Network schedule wasn't exactly knocking the ratings numbers off the charts.

Combine that with some serious attendance woes and a vat of red ink and if Vegas was giving odds, we imagine the house is heavily invested in the idea that there will be No UFL in the fall.

For football players it of course presents one less option to pursue employment, but for the eight members of the CFL, the demise of the UFL could offer up one or two prospective players to shore up depleted line ups or add some spark to a struggling roster.

While the NFL most likely won't even notice the end of the UFL it indeed comes to pass, the CFL might be keeping its options open for a few players that could help their teams down the playoff stretch.

Globe and Mail-- United Football League delays season because of financial woes
Las Vegas Sun-- Hurting for money and unable to secure a TV Deal, UFL pushed back season...
Las Vegas Review-Journal-- Financial woes stall start of UFL play
MSNBC-- Agent declares UFL to be dead
CBS Sports-- Financial problems force UFL to delay start of season
Hartford Courant-- Hartford Colonials: UFL Team in Holding Pattern...
Boston Globe-- With end of lockout in sight, UFL delays season
Omaha World Herald--  Moglia stays upbeat despite UFL delay
Sacramento Bee-- Mountain Lions season to begin in September
Virginia Pilot-- UFL delays season's start a month, until mid-September
Virginia Pilot-- UFL: A respite, or the end?
Business Insider-- The end of the NFL lockout could kill the UFL forever
Sporting News-- Financially strapped UFL to delay its season 30 days

No comments: