2024 Season United Football League (UFL) 4.0

And what marketing department was that? The league did a woeful job in marketing all around, which we noted in ample part above and for which I noted only the exception of Fox doing some regular marketing before the season and some appearances by The Rock and Dany Garcia, who cannot and should not be doing it all.

Or move those teams in Memphis and in Detroit both to new and better markets.

So far, many of our dire predictions for those two markets are on course, including mine that Memphis and Detroit were the two worst markets.

The jury is also out on Birmingham and on Houston, but we should know more by the end of April.

3 Likes

THE CANADIAN DOES IT AGAIN WOOOO

3 Likes
1 Like

It’s a bit early, but I’m already thinking hello Seattle 2025 for starters, if the rest of the league but for Memphis and Michigan do well with attendance and ratings and especially financial results. Where else? We shall see.

If the league is going to include Seattle, do it in 2025 before perhaps the NBA SuperSonics are back.

On the other hand, in Seattle the Kraken, Sounders, and Mariners now provide a lot of local competition, but St. Louis has teams in each of those leagues as well with the Battlehawks leading the league in attendance by far.

Whatever the case, I figure we are not likely to hear all the information about financial performance for the UFL 4.0 after only its first season as the media partners and NFL figure out what to adjust.

1 Like

So what are we hearing with the TV numbers? Is this thing doomed or does it have a shot not to bleed out? Anyone have a way too early opinion? I haven’t see any of the standard no nothing pundits pumping out the standard opinions that this thing is DOA. Maybe the fact that Disney and Fox are the broadcasters has shut down a lot of the negative chatter.

The TV numbers in Week 1 were overwhelmingly solid as noted, and I don’t think there is anybody making any such sweeping claims, as you shared for example, one way or the other.

My only point, and a very early one, is that with poor attendance in at least two markets, the league should look at a market that indeed did do well twice for the XFL in 2020 and in 2023.

With solid scheduling and especially as much as possible to Fox and ABC, the TV numbers can only go up when the on-screen spectacle has improved.

Relatively empty stands might not affect the TV ratings for any given single game, but as we saw during the pandemic EVEN with captive audiences more at home, all season long the sparse attendance can also affect TV ratings.

3 Likes

It’s too early to tell. I think we’ll have a better outlook on the leagues trajectory by week 7 or 8. Now that Disney is said to have an ownership stake, I think chances are good the league gets greenlit for 3 seasons. After 3 years, if returns are minimal, I’d expect at least one of the ownership entities to rescind and that may very well be the end of spring football as we know it.

3 Likes

I agree with you - I think one of the first steps for Fox and Disney was to reign in everyone who was savaging the new league(s) in the media. Can’t have people in house telling potential customers that the food is crap.

As far as Disney and Fox owning the league - that might not be a bad hedge bet over the next ten years to have that league and those TV numbers in your back pocket as the NBA is going to be asking for crazy amounts of money. And they don’t draw that big of audience for a good portion of the games. Then Labron is leaving - I know @Paolo_X is not a Lebron guy but I think the NBA is looking at a drop-off when he retires in the next couple of years.

3 Likes

Early ratings are in.

Not sure how these compare to week 2 last year.

2 Likes

That seems to be a lot better than last year when both leagues were on the backwater cable networks. There are leagues out there that survive with worse numbers that what is shown there.

The attendance is not great but with all the team shifting and other stuff that has transpired over the last 6 years of spring football this is not the end of the world.

2 Likes

Much is on track here with better than expected TV ratings now too.

Starting in Week 3 and going forward, except for Mothers’ Day weekend, at least 3 out of the 4 games are on ABC or FOX.

Beyond other sports, on this weekend there is the Masters golf tournament.

It does appear that the UFL did plan around spring football on 13 April in its markets in Alabama and in Tennessee, for Memphis plays at Birmingham at 7PM Saturday night instead of during the day and with that game on Fox.

ABC has the double header on Sunday with both games starting earlier before the end of the Masters before its peak ratings in the final round, but 12PM ET Houston at Detroit looks like a tough sell to me.

I saw plenty of people still out on a golf course on Saturday evening here even though it was not warm, and now with warmer weather in more places, we shall see.

I think the ratings for Week 3 will be the crossroads for the trend, for now I don’t see either spring football in SEC areas or The Masters impacting the ratings hardly except for maybe the last game if it is a dud in the third quarter. If a close game, it’s not like some fans won’t be flipping or switching between screens.

There is also a scheduling twist for weeks 4 and 5 as well as others, which I will describe below.

2 Likes

UFL To Air Fewer Games Nationally In Weeks 4 and 5

Regional Ratings Experiment?

So as noted here is the scheduling twist, and I’m not sure this is good news, but on the other hand, there is the opportunity to check and spike local and regional ratings for the associated games in the 7PM Saturday night time slot, which is a winner for live sports on free antenna TV.

It looks like some sort of experiment is being run in Weeks 4 and 5 for the 7PM time slot on Saturday night, for both games are on at the same time being according to a regional schedule.

On the crowded Memorial Day Weekend in the US, there is also one other such occurrence on that Sunday in Week 9, so this practice does not appear to be the norm going forward.

2 Likes

A 20% drop compared to the 50% last year is a big step in the right direction. If the league can keep an average of 700k+ this season they’ll be on a good path forward

3 Likes

Has anyone seen anything negative in the press by the usual pundits trashing on the UFL and spring football in general? I haven’t seen it but I haven’t really looked for it either.

I think that the powers that be put out the word that dissent would not be dealt with kindly.

1 Like

But that order was put out for that previous trash hub league too anyway, so that’s not news, but so far this edition feels far more legitimate.

1 Like

In Canada, negative remarks come from TSN broadcasters. Naylor and Barker come to mind. Naturally they have a bias considering TSN doesn’t cover the UFL.

1 Like

I know that the powers that be at Fox came out last year and we covered the silence - as you say not news - but after years of the pundits taking shots and calling for imminent doom of the spring leagues, now for the most part it is just crickets. Which is a huge departure from yesteryear, but now with ESPN and Fox in ownership roles and the godfather guiding this thing I am pretty sure that the word got out. Then Fox having Curt Menefee teamed with Joel Klatt that this is an important product line.

I realize that none of this is groundbreaking news but in the context of the evolution of spring football from the AAF in2019 to where we are now this thing has come a long long ways.

2 Likes

Jake Bates,
64 yards in Week 1,
62 yards in Week 2,
GOOD GOLLY.

According to [Michigan] Panthers head coach Mike Nolan, several NFL teams have tried to contact Bates, which is a problem, because it’s against the rules for an NFL team to contact a UFL player during the season.

“Outsiders don’t touch our players too much during the season,” Nolan said Tuesday, via the Detroit Free Press. “With Jake, somehow some of them are trying to make efforts to do that, to be honest with you, and hopefully that backs off a little bit because that’s not – they’re not supposed to do that. And maybe that’s rumor, but I had heard something the other day and I kind of said, ‘Well, let’s make sure we nip that in the bud,’ because, look, I want Jake to do well and I want him to get a chance.”

NFL teams are allowed to contact the team about Bates, but they aren’t allowed to have direct contact with the player. If anyone in the UFL knows the rules about who NFL teams are allowed to have contact with, it’s definitely Nolan, who has 33 years of NFL coaching experience under his belt, including a five-season stint as the 49ers’ head coach.

2 Likes

Am I correct in saying that nobody is showing UFL in Canada?

1 Like

Yes, you are correct new2CFL. ESPN, Fox and ABC as far as I understand.

3 Likes