2024 Season United Football League (UFL) 4.0

Happy New Year and let’s start off fresh for sake of upcoming spring football starting on 30 March with the UFL 4.0.

Here’s the official site. Yes, this is the fourth edition of a league by this name.

Just go to the league site first before hearing it from any given pundit,
then any given media partner such as Fox or ABC/ESPN,
then other established sports sites,
and then generally avoid especially all those impostors out there claiming to have those deep and close connections to The Rock and company, plans to launch those Saskatoon Stags but not in Saskatchewan but wherever they live in North America, et cetera.
:roll_eyes:

Choose your preferred teams and towns wisely!
:partying_face:

Good job to all who made this happen after the prior experiments for decades now, and great job on the support from so many of you and Superb Owl on this CFL Forum too over the years.

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For sake of past discussions on the teams left out or future expansion though we are well ahead of ourselves when it comes to spring football on that note, I truly feel for Seattle, for being left out simply not the fault of Seattle’s individual performance but a question of seriously higher travel and other business costs and the increased difficulty that comes with scheduling games on the West Coast, which both the XFL 2.0 (2020) and the XFL 3.5 (2023) encountered with Seattle.

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St. Louis Battlehawks is my choice team to cheer.

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The way I look at it is
The League has half the number of teams they did last year,
which adds up to one less league and half the teams for non NFL quality players to sign with which equals twice the talent to go north to the CFL

Watson and his wife, Aleah, are currently expecting their second child and he believes the CFL is the best option to provide security for his family. He described his tenure in the XFL as a “good experience” but cited the uncertainty surrounding spring football as a reason for a potential return north of the border.

“The whole merger thing with the UFL, obviously that just erased half of the spring football jobs in the U.S., which is drastically different than it was this past year having both the XFL and USFL as options,” Watson told 3DownNation via telephone on Tuesday.

“It just makes sense to say, ‘OK, does [the CFL] make more sense in terms of getting somewhere I can regain my footing if I can be a little more comfortable up there with something that’s not as in flux as it is down here.'”

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I chose my team very wisely: St. Louis Battlehawks, Kaw-Kaw! Kaw-kaw! (I like to say it twice, because it’s four good Kaws)

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If his wife is moving up to Canada the healthcare system is probably one of the better reasons.

The whole point of the spring league is to get a better shot at the NFL. Since Watson didn’t catch on with an NFL team then the other reason for coming to Canada is that we pay more.

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Does anybody else here, I think @Stickweld21 does because I remember his commentary on this front, remember the bad quality of play when the CFL started in 2023? Most noteworthy was the poor play on the offensive line and poor tackling from what I can remember. Players practiced and came around later in the season, but I feel like it took longer than usual.

Now more of those players with either CFL experience, like Sankey and Tre Watson, and other players with higher than average talent in a spring league, will be filling out more of those few slots.

I don’t have a research study with data to back my hypothesis here, but we do have greater numbers of players looking to the CFL again and who can blame them not only because there are fewer slots in spring football.

Apparently the pay is not up for spring football, and there is yet another organizational change akin to working for a new company anyway.

It’s not the same as the jobs or work we have, but have you ever been caught in a merger or acquisition of your employer?

In my experience, it’s only worked out ONCE and that is in the present and not without its quirks after wanting to leave two years ago.

When your employer is acquired or merging or certain key leadership leaves, you are working for a new company anyway, so you might as well look around for an improvement.

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I was caught in multiple mergers years ago. In all cases, people in management were phased out after a while. Usually the people with the money do the deciding.

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Also regarding any expansion to the northeast, already a heavily saturated market for sports, entertainment, and various local interests, is the daunting prospect to go through the public and private approvals needed after the say of all those interests.

Here in Greater Philadelphia / Delaware Valley for example, beyond even the venue and logistics, I cannot see that there will be ANY new sports league of national media exposure, such as the UFL, without the say of all the other sports teams and their ownership and local connections, whatever all those multiple discussions involve of course.

Rinse and repeat wherever there is already a vast presence in the northeast.

Occasionally in somewhat less densely populated areas in the northeast, a game changer can be a powerful politician, but that’s also a long process to make it happen.

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It’s just really hard to develop new leagues, even with financial backing. People are set to their interests and it’s hard to make inroads.

MLS took a very deliberate and long-range approach. They knew they were niche and worked with that.

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Really hard for new businesses to make it at all.

Top 6 Reasons New Businesses Fail.

New sports leagues would be even worse because they are selling an attachment to a team. It takes 5 years for most people to form that attachment so new leagues would be losing money hand over fist.

Totally agree with what you’re saying.

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The UFL benefits here as well in this deal that shifts ownership of the stadium to the University of Memphis. I have a friend who is an alumnus, so will I ask him for any local feedback on this front and share that if any.

Memphis City Council approved a deal yesterday that will allocate $120M to the Univ. of Memphis for “renovations to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium and shift ownership” to the university, according to Jonah Dylan of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The $120M is “only a portion” of the $350M the city received from the state for “various stadium renovation projects in the city.” Officials “weighed how to divide” the $350M and a “breakthrough came” when FedEx founder & Chair Fred Smith and his family announced a $50M donation for stadium renovations in November. The university announced a fundraising campaign for an additional $50M, which would give it the $220M it requires to renovate the stadium. Dylan noted there was “no clear timeline for the project on Tuesday night,” but the vote “marked a significant moment in the push to renovate the stadium.” Several provisions to the Letter of Intent between the city and university were added “over the last two weeks” which include:

  • A new committee that will meet to “discuss the progress of the stadium renovation and possibly continue after it’s completed.” This would give the city “some say in goings-on at the stadium” without adding the board seat outlined in councilman’s JB Smiley’s resolution.
  • New multiyear agreements with the Southern Heritage Classic and AutoZone Liberty Bowl, both of which take place at the stadium.
  • A clause that would “allow the city to buy back the stadium for $1 if the university ever wanted to sell it.” The original LOI would have given the city the ability to match any offer the university received (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/19).
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Well stated here.

In the sports business, it also takes a consistent PHYSICAL and COMMUNITY presence to build a brand for gate attendance and a scene and spectacle for the screen that far more people will watch and pay for via all the streams of revenue to the team and league.

Fans are not going to keep watching games with empty stadiums, and various camera tricks to not show the stands are not going to fool the masses over time or the advertisers paying top dollar for exposure, whenever an event is a freezing cold ticket that can hardly be given away for physical attendance.

Branding is expensive for any given business.

Note that it took the NFL hundreds of millions of dollars in losses via NFL Europa to build a brand in Europe, and look only in recent years at the NFL reaping the rewards beyond the games in London in the UK at Wembley Stadium or otherwise where the NFL had established a stronger brand over the years.

Now the UFL 4.0 does not have to do all that from scratch here in the US, but this is the long game as the UFL 4.0 must improve each year or have the plug pulled by a key investor or partner.

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For sake of all those expansion ideas and inevitable talk though such is far ahead for this league because first the improved concept has to be proved anew for all stakeholders, it’s important to not overlook that Seattle and Detroit were the ONLY markets of either prior league, leaving out Canton, OH for reasons unrelated to the presence of an NFL team, in which a field was shared with an NFL team and of course would be ONLY with an NFL team’s permission, via either lease clause or quid pro quo, as now the case only in Detroit.

This is a primary consideration that is overlooked by many when they have ideas about a UFL team EVER being in a current NFL market.

If that market’s NFL ownership and other NFL owners with interest in that market, and in some cases NBA, NHL, and/or MLB ownership and interests, don’t want the team playing at that NFL venue, for a smaller league with fewer resources, that effort is practically toast as the UFL would be wiser to not spend the money on the public and private fight of such strong opposition.

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Yeah we saw what happened in Vegas when the XFL and NFL had a battle. The Raiders were able to shut down the other football venue in town with a deal. I don’t know the inner workings of that diagreement between the Raiders and XFL but I don’t see that happening in DFW or Houston as those markets are 2X the size of Vegas and have a ton of other options as far as football stadiums. I also think that Jerry/Cowboys are not threatened by the team in Arlington- Jerry is one of the godfather figures and one of his protégés is a USFL/UFL league executive.

But I do agree with @Paolo_X that in other markets if the power brokers don’t want that team to play in certain venues they could make it super difficult.

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Take two is at hand Friday tomorrow for what the UFL 4.0 tried to do at the end of 2023 last week but failed and rightfully so given their coercive antics with former players, including those laid off by teams no longer around.

The next draft will be 15 January.

It is at this time that either free agent players have pursued or are pursuing the CFL, or on with any football dreams via the UFL or simply holding out for a long-shot chance via an NFL camp.

Training camp begins on 24 February in Arlington, TX at the training hub. That is only five weeks before opening weekend. Doesn’t that feel rushed? But at least the players are getting in top shape now if not already.

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Read this and tell me the NFL/Godfather isn’t pulling strings - interesting that O Linemen and QBs are a couple of the positions that he mentioned.

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Wow for sure. This reads more like a public relations press conference beyond an interview with Johnston and his past role in the USFL 2.0 and in his new role for the UFL 4.0.

And as you cited, there it is and we have discussed this point in all these threads since 2022 on this forum as well.

So, you’ve got positions like offensive line and quarterback that aren’t playing enough football and seeing it at game speed. … So, we’ve got all these guys in football operations that have great connections into the NFL and can really start to introduce those opportunities and create conversations of really what are complete end-game is.

The choice guys for those positions in the NFL are certainly NOT going to be coming as much beyond the second round of the NFL draft, and the NFL no longer has any more interest in risking so many draft busts, which include those with all that campus attitude and baggage like Johnny Manziel.

To be fair to Manziel and many others, the blame lies also with ESPN there for blowing these guys up more in media coverage so as to also feed their young campus egos.

That process unfortunately starts in high school, which is why Disney / ESPN and the NCAA (see related developments as noted today in the NCAA thread given the big news) is a bigger problem for the NFL and a solid spring league is a partial step to help the NFL have more of these better-trained players.

Here’s a generally positive development for the rosters:

But the big thing for us this year is making sure we step away from this thing as strong as we can possibly be. One of the big numbers that’s different is we’re going to take 75 players to training camp. Last year, the USFL took 58. I think the XFL took 66. So, you’re talking about nine players more for the XFL, but for the USFL, it’s 17 players more. And then you take that out and multiply that by the number of teams, and we’re creating more opportunities for a bunch of guys to get into training camp. …

Once we get to the regular season, we’re going to kind of transition to what we once were. We’re going to have 50 active roster spots total, and 42 active roster spots on game day. The 42 is an uptick from the USFL’s 40 last year, and we’ll carry an emergency third quarterback as an inactive going into the games.

In aggregate right now, we are only talking about 400 guys each season in spring football in the UFL, plus others in the near mix, who are not playing in the CFL or otherwise in the US in some lower pro football league.

Of course only about 255 guys are drafted into the NFL each season, and they don’t all make teams with most drafted lower than the 4th round cut in camp, plus not counting punters, kickers, and long snappers, perhaps there are 20 free agents or CFL transfers making NFL teams amidst all the other free agents not playing one of those special teams positions.

And even as we’ve had conversations and meetings to talk about the merger process, you still had to prepare as individual leagues. We are getting very close. We have our last event where we have to function like two separate entities. The XFL will do their dispersal draft with their four teams that didn’t make the merger, and the USFL will do their dispersal draft with the four teams that did not make our merger, and then after that, we can put everything behind us and start to come together as one. We’re still closing the door on some small, few items, but at the end of the week, we’ll be able to move beyond that.

This commentary has to do with the names of the two divisions and various operations still being merged, and to me the road map looks in place to phase out the tired names of the old spring leagues and rightfully so. As described reminds me of what happened in the years after the AFL and NFL merger.

After a decade after that merger, the only people who cared about the AFL were the older and salty players and owners like Al Davis of the Raiders, who carried his beefs with the NFL to his grave. “Hey dude. Move on already. That was a long time ago.”

Only three seasons in modern sports is already a very long time. Think how long ago was that pandemic season in 2020, for example!

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True statement on the public relations release, but isn’t that how the NFL/godfather can communicate that it is okay to watch the new league? There are still a lot of moving parts with the new league for everyone involved Fox and ESPN/ABC included - and by that I mean, the NBA is asking for big money for the renewal of broadcast rights in the next couple of years. Is disney going shell out cash for those rights? ESPN just bought the rights to a ton of NCAA content which to me is filler - that said is this a “tell” that gives some indication on whether or not ABC/Disney wants the NBA? If they don’t then they will probably need some filler in the spring in the form of the UFL. Just my crazy man thoughts.

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See what any of you can find out there on the Dispersal Draft today.

Introducing Mike Mitchell, who apparently is covering the league for Sports Illustrated and is a real person not an AI-generated personality like in 2023. The new owner was not amused upon the discovery and revelation, had an all-hands company video call, and then sent some heads rolling down the road:

There’s just one of a few credible sources to follow instead of all those previous Spring Football Echo Chamber Fan Boys just slapping up all those alternative facts about “alternative football.” I think we can eliminate and drop for good that stupid term now too.

Each team will be allowed to protect up to 42 players from its 2023 roster and select up to 20 players from the rosters of teams from their conference that will not be moving forward in 2024 from their previous league.

It will be interesting to see how all this shuffling plays out for the teams and which teams, if any, keep a good portion of players from the prior two leagues as opposed to going to the free agency draft on 15 January after next week.

Remember, teams will be cutting up to 25 players by the deadline for final rosters of 50 in the days before the first game.

https://www.si.com/fannation/ufl/news/ufl-dispersal-draft-date-set-former-xfl-usfl-teams

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