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Groovatron

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: May 30, 2007, 11:23:22 AM

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070530/us_nm/football_league_dc;_ylt=ApnXxfzvQ.b0hgt5KPP9NOSs0NUE

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Well-known investment banker Bill Hambrecht and Google Inc. executive Tim Armstrong plan to launch a competitor to the National Football League next summer, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The leagues -- named the United Football League -- already boasts billionaire Mark Cuban, who owns the National Basketball Association's Dallas team, among its owners, the paper said.

Hambrecht, Google and Cuban were not immediately available to comment.

The plan is for eight teams to begin preseason games in August 2008, according to the paper. The UFL would be the latest in a series of leagues since the 1970s, including the World Football League and the United States Football League, that have failed to thrive against the NFL.

Hambrecht, the founder of WR Hambrecht + Co., and Armstrong have each pledged $2 million, the paper said.

The plan is to establish teams in markets where the NFL does not have teams, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Mexico City, according to the paper.

Each owner will put up $30 million for an initial half-interest in a team, with the league owning the other half, the paper said. The league will eventually sell shares to the public so that the league, owner and fan each own a third of each team.

An NFL spokesman declined to comment.


bucboy 64

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#1 : May 30, 2007, 11:30:47 AM

Yeah, good luck. You would think they wouldn't want to take the NFL straight on and would start the league in the spring.

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#2 : May 30, 2007, 11:31:23 AM

Well like yesterdays XFL, they're gonna be so succesfull....right. ::)




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Groovatron

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#3 : May 30, 2007, 11:33:50 AM

Since they're putting teams in cities that don't have an NFL team I'm wondering if they will try Orlando.

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#4 : May 30, 2007, 11:37:53 AM

They should, O-town's a good sports market with nothing else but NBA.




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The White Tiger

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#5 : May 30, 2007, 12:07:20 PM

Unfortunately, I remember the WFL and the USFL...I thought USFL had the best chance - but 'The Donald' insisted that they build their entire future on winning the anti-trust court battle with the NFL. They did - and won a whopping $1 which of course was trebbled to $3....and the league died an ugly death.

John Bassett the Tampa Bay owner was the Maverick in that league and had he not died would surely have fought Trump over moving them into a head to head competition with the NFL - Spring Ball had a place and should have made it - Many of the owners began to get behind Trumps plan when Bassett died too early of Brain Cancer. Trumps hubris then spelled the doom of the league...somethings never change.

Seeing Steve Young in an LA Express uniform seems wierd now:



I'm afraid there just isn't anymore air left in the room for another league competing in the same timeslot as the NFL.

Television doesn't want to help mess up a good thing either....this is a strange way to strip three rich guys of their money...


I remember that the Bandits drew more fans than the Buccaneers - and I was one of them!

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Huey Freeman

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#6 : May 30, 2007, 12:35:14 PM

There is enough room for another league if it is done right.  They need to seek out their own market segment and not try to go toe-to-toe with the NFL.  The NFL will love the idea of a new league because it will give more players the opportunity to develop. 

bklynbucs11

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#7 : May 30, 2007, 12:54:03 PM

League is a good idea in my opinion. One question though:

Why compete with the NFL? Here's the problem - you can only play once a week, this is still football. Play on Sundays and you are competing with the NFL - the most succcessful sporting league in the US, possibly the world, with the most expensive network contracts (with by the way, owned by the same corporations that own most of the cable stations) ni the world? Do you really think Turner Broadcasting, NBC, CLearchannel and ABC (who own all sporting stations except for MSG - which is mostly New YOrk based) would put something on TV for an apprximatel ~$50 MM annual contract that would jeopardize viewership on their $5-10 Billion annual contract? Hell no. COmpete on saturdays - and you are competing with the second most succesful sporting league in the US - College Football. The ONLY viewers you could POSSIBLY hope to attract with saturday games are viewers in the Northeast (excluding Boston, Syracuse and Buffalo) because there aren't any strong college football teams that would attract non-regional viewership. Also a bad idea. PLay on Friday Nights, and you're competing with High School football - an equally bad idea. 60-70% of your viewership isn't at home because they're at the stadium. Mondays are also tough to do. THat leaves the league to broadcast games on Tuesday - THursday. And Thursday's tough too because of the NFL's november schedule.


On the other hand, imagine the benefits of having this league held in Spring/Summer. Any football fan has only one complaint these days - not enough football on TV year-wide. NFL Europe's not broadcast,. THe AFL is actually doing pretty damn well recently - but still has no syndicated  nation-wide broadcasting except one game. Cuban has more pull in the broadcast industry than all of the AFL owners combined. He could EASILY land some sporting channel akin to FSN or MSG. I dont know about ESPN because they've got the NBA and NCAAB contracts - but its a possibility. In addition, rather than competing with the Media Giant that is the NFL, your competition is the following:

1) NBA. Barely respectable network broadcasting & low ratings (how much more needs to be said about a league who has a 3x lower Neilsen rating for PLAYOFF basketball than the NFL draft does).
2) MLB. Big, but also not high on the ratings. Probably because its on every day. Plus, if structured right, you can have the league in its later stages when baseball comes on
3) NHL - not a major competitor anymore
4) AFL - not major
5) NASCAR - this is the big problem. This is immensely popular with the same crowd. But again, NASCAR is a once-or twice-a-week event. Broadcasting would have to be done on days when the event's no broadcast.


Not  to mention the other advantage. Farm players. I can understand the constenation of players going to EUrope and leaving the country to play - and Arena football is too risky. But have a US based league, thats legit, and plays in the SPring, and you can be sure of a higher allocation of players.

Tampa Bay Todd

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#8 : May 30, 2007, 01:08:07 PM

I could see Cuban putting a team in San Antonio. There has been talk for years about moving a team (most recently the Vikings, I think) to that city. There's a bowl game there I believe and a pre-season game played there. Not sure if a new league would make it, since once the novelty wears off it can become forgettable. Also, NFL front office has been pushing the league overseas for years and doubtful they want to just abandon that to help in this league.


scope88

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#9 : May 30, 2007, 01:16:33 PM

Europe, especially England are dieing for football. It would be smart to get a football league going over there. Rather than competing with the NFL and all the other sports that go on in the US. Just my two cents.



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#10 : May 30, 2007, 01:46:44 PM

2 years tops. it'll die an ugly death.

maybe it stays afloat a little longer if they decide to have their season during the NFL offseason... but basically no way do they compete with the NFL...

...unless there's no steroid/drug testing... then maybe the Ricky Williams of the world can ball it up.

dalbuc

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#11 : May 30, 2007, 01:52:33 PM

Won't work, not enough people will pay to go watch second rate football and risk missing the NFL games or the NCAA games during the fall.

They have to run during the spring to have a shot and they have to be "legit". The XFL killed its cred with their attachment to the WWF guy and all the "He Hate Me" stuff.

All posts are opinions in case you are too stupid to figure that out on your own without me saying it over and over.

Simms2Clayton05

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#12 : May 30, 2007, 02:14:23 PM

lol no professional football league will ever take over or even compete with the nfl. It would be nice to develop players by having some kind of farm club.

The White Tiger

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#13 : May 30, 2007, 02:58:43 PM

Simms2Claton05 - you're right, whether this "phantom" league denies that they will compete with the NFL - or not - the NFL WILL see this as a direct threat. The idea that millionaires could get together and fund a league of their own lends to the theory that rich people can do anything - unfortunately no group could absorb the cost of this competition. Not the NFL, not any group of investors...the cost is extremely prohibitive to COMPETE for television $$$ and players. If it could have been done a media outlet would have done it by now...wasn't it rumored that the NFL Network was going to foot the bill for a league...last year?

From my historical perspective this ploy/threat is used to bring the NFL to the table to negotiate something from them..
After the WFL and USFL they have learned to just allow these leagues to pull in investors and owners that could make trouble and allow them all to lose a lot of money, at the same time - poof goes the threat and all the profit for a leagal push....

NFL has a developmental league - it's now called NFL-Europa. They have plans for this league to expand worldwide. They are patient and they won't/haven't tolerated ANY competition!

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Neubi

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#14 : May 30, 2007, 03:04:44 PM

Europe, especially England are dieing for football. It would be smart to get a football league going over there. Rather than competing with the NFL and all the other sports that go on in the US. Just my two cents.
Footballs biggest market in Europe is Germany. They tried several times to build something up in England, but interest was very low.

Fine, I'll go build my own Bulletin Board! With blackjack and hookers!
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