2024 Season United Football League (UFL) 4.0

Ah well that’s not a good sign after that recent Prestige Marking fiasco.

Keep them in check on this stuff. That’s NOT a standard way to write a date either. It looks like a software version.

Based on these antics with folks asleep at the wheel lately and some other chatter and Superb Owl weighing in at The Shady Nest earlier this week, we’re moving now to an Escalated Bojack Alert in anticipation of the schedule release and various new yet uninformed spring football arrivals.

Now it should not be so bad as every year since 2019, due to the new Secret Garden protocol in operation, but forewarned is forearmed.

Great work everybody, carry on.
/Starts car
//Sips drink and speeds off

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Well this is it folks.

The UFL 4.0 MUST get it right and be the successful pioneer, or it’s practically curtains for spring football in the US for another generation.

https://forums.cfl.ca/t/expansion-thought/77200/56?u=paolo_x

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@Paolo_X - this all gets back to the godfather and what they want and how much they are willing to lose. We know that the NFL has back channel methods in place to get money to both Redbird Capital and Fox - and how deep the losses are for this iteration of spring football.

I am interested to see how a late march start date helps or hurts the league, not going head to head with the NCAA, then the fact that ESPN/Fox are working together on this one and consumers should not be looking for games on ESPN8 on a late Friday night kickoff time.

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Anyone have guess on average attendance this season? I have a feeling Houston might become the new Vegas with the way things are looking currently. Here are my best guesses on average attendance per team this season.

Arlington-14k
San Antonio-19k
DC- 16k
St. Louis- 33k
Houston-10k
Birmingham-13k
Memphis-12k
Michigan-11k

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Wow the UFL released the schedule before 12pm!

Here is a grid-view of the schedule

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Pretty interesting schedule. Just as I feared, not a single Saturday game for DC. I’ll make it to the home opener, but that may be the only one I’m able to attend this time around. There are 2 weeks in a row with Fox primetime regional coverage, akin to XFL 1.0 with an “A” and “B” game. Overall, less primetime games compared to the USFL last year, but more than the XFL. Only 1 game on FS1 and ESPN2 respectively is a win for sure.

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I don’t think Houston will be as bad as you are predicting - From what I gather Rice Stadium is not a great stadium, but it is in a better part of town than UH - The Rice area has some restaurants and bars - Rice stadium is an old stadium - hosted a Superbowl but it is not close to Las Vegas Cashman levels of bad.

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You may very well be right, though it seems Houston gets an Easter Sunday game as well as the lone games on ESPN2 and FS1. Almost like the league knows Houston might be the red headed stepchild this season, and is relegating them to less popular time slots and networks.

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Stallions star TE, Jace Sternberger, will be the featured guest on Around The UFL tonight!

They’ve been doing a pretty good job getting high profile guests on the show! Previously they’ve had TJ Barnes, a DLineman from DC Defenders and Head Coach of the BattleHawks John DeFilippo!

Next stream is tonight (Feb 5th) at 6pm EST!

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Yeah that could be interesting - I still don’t think it is going to be as bad as Vegas was last year. I am wondering what the TV numbers are going to look like.

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Well said. I like all those games on free TV this season!

Though 4 of the first 8 games on ESPN blows, that gets those out of the way to make room for more on free TV.

I’ve spoken with Captain Timbers about the new schedule, and he’s approved Pirate Sports Network coverage for some of the games not on free TV. I’ll catch up with Superb Owl tomorrow night at The Shady Nest.

Captain Timbers says that our crew needs the preseason sea training for the upcoming CFL season, for he feels like they’ve been slacking off too much and getting out of shape lately. Over the weekend Private Stubbles spilled his mug of ale and almost rolled off the bow into the south Caribbean waters after he was bumped when watching a friendly skirmish on deck, and he could not stop rolling by himself. Captain Timbers was not pleased with such a spectacle and decided that was the last straw.

Anyway, looking at the schedule, some more notes:

  • There are not enough games at night! In the spring when the weather is nice and there is plenty to do during the day, there should be more games on TV at night! Maybe too many conflicts with the NBA and NHL playoffs I figure, but daytime TV in the spring does not look great for ratings.

  • Inexplicably, in Week 7 in May, 3 of the games are on ESPN.

  • After Week 7, only 2 games are on ESPN channels, with both of those in Birmingham.

  • ZERO games on any cable in Weeks 6 and 9 plus the entire postseason.

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All the positive information one would expect.

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I went and looked at the Houston Schedule - they have 4 Sunday afternoon games and one Saturday night game. Last year they had 2 late Sunday night kickoffs, a Saturday night and a noon Saturday, and a 2 pm Sunday. All that said I don’t think that the Roughnecks are going to have as bad a season as last year in regard to attendance.

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Check this out, though I don’t think this new app will be ready in time for the 2024 season.

I do figure this is where some games are going for 2025 should the UFL still be at hand, including for simulcasts, since this new venture involves both Fox and Disney.

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Aaaaaand …we’re back, two days after the announcement of the schedule …so does this mean now we will go another seven weeks without any marketing on the internet by the UFL 4.0?

Will we simply have The Rock showing up in Daytona and here and there on Fox or wherever the feeds goes for the rights in Canada?

I met with Superb Owl at The Shady Nest last night, and well he was quite pleased to discuss the news over heavy pours of schooners of Night Train.

When I mentioned @laxtreme56 he hooted and grunted like usual, which roughly translates to “Oh yeah. He’s gettin’ 'er done. Good man there.”

Then when mentioning @BetweenTheGoalposts , who is relatively new on the radar of the Avian Council, it was a short nod and a simple grunt, which means, “Yep, I know 'bout him too, uh huh.” Then he slurred something else to tell me “keep an ear out for him too.”

Then most of the rest of the conversation was not comprehensible. I could see he was happy though.

A good night watching all his screens in his open-air sports book lounge was had by all, though it sure was cold last night, in our trial run for the annual Superb Owl Super Bowl party.

Keep up the good work all.

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If you have not read this fine article linked above that includes comments by AJ McCarron, I would encourage you to do so now.

The exodus or flight to the CFL is well underway in this time frame a few weeks before training camps break in late February for this relaunch that is the UFL 4.0.

Now we will see who really shows up for camp, who otherwise does have some pro football experience, and who does not, including in particular for the quarterbacks.

I tend to agree with McCarron in that the deal via the union is not good enough compared to in late 2022 when it was struck. There are now far fewer players on the payroll after all.

On the other hand, I don’t see the players having a better deal without the union.

Until the term of that union deal runs out, I figure the situation will come down to the quality of the product, and especially the ratings on mostly free TV.

Let’s note as well that the NFL godfather, beyond all its heavy influence to have prime such media interest in the first place, retains an interest in the success of this league such that perhaps the UFL is more likely than not to be backstopped by the NFL, via transactions via Fox and Disney, until the next union deal no matter what.

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Those bojacks at ESPN still have the old XFL page up there and no category for the UFL, and those bojacks at Fox, with a terrible sports site for years now, still have the old USFL page up there with no category for the UFL either.

Oh well maybe they’ll get around to it all after the Super Bowl.
:unamused:

At least there is an early article on Fox with a comprehensive early preseason overview.

It appears Fox Sports has its first writer, RJ Young, who will cover the new league.

The USFL and XFL have had a combined 150 alumni receive NFL contracts over the past two seasons. Two USFL alums, KaVontae Turpin and Brandon Aubrey, earned NFL Pro Bowl selections as members of the Dallas Cowboys.

Note that’s an average of just under 5 new players per NFL team, but of course the number varies greatly by NFL team including the Colts, who seem to have a revolving door with these spring leagues.

We have no idea the number of former spring league players since 2022 who will make rosters for the CFL this season, but that number should be a record in 2024.

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@Paolo_X - I am a conspiracy theory guy and I think that this UFL has godfather written all over it. How else do you explain the TV schedule? A ton of games on good time slots? And as you and I have discussed there are mechanisms in place to get money to Redbird and Fox. Maybe this thing bleeds out after this season but I am betting that the NFL/Godfather wants this thing to live to fight another day.

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Some NFL Roster Math, 2023

Running some bare math for a starting point and an ESTIMATE,

150 Former USFL/XFL players in the NFL
1696 = 53*32 approximate total player slots in the NFL in any given week of the regular season, practice squads excluded

150 would be 8.84% of weekly NFL slots filled by players by the USFL/XFL as the source so far, but of course those 150 players were not all in the NFL at the same time.

What if the maximum number of such players on NFL rosters at the same time were only about 5%, or 85 players?

That’s still 1 out of 20 NFL players on rosters!

Many of those 85 players would be making the rookie / 1st year minimum per game.

Though sometimes that slot would have been filled by an undrafted free agent who also makes the minimum, undrafted free agents otherwise often have less or zero pro experience, including especially straight out of college.

Anyway, if the baseline for the spring leagues to feed NFL rosters so far is at about 5% to replace other sources, including a few from the lower rounds of the annual NFL Draft, that’s a start on reduced salary per player for more experience, shorter learning curve, and less aggregate risk.

Now in 2024, we will watch to see if the NFL builds on that 2023 baseline estimate of 5% of NFL player slots per regular season week (~85 players) from the USFL/XFL/UFL.

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To your credit, one part of your prior “prototype” theory could be correct: the part that has to do with the incremental increase in better-trained, cheaper, and less risky labour to be supplied by a spring league over the years.

As estimated above, perhaps now the NFL has already secured about 5% of its players who had played in the spring leagues.

Imagine if in three or four years the NFL secures 20%, or 1 in 5, players from the UFL 4.0!?

Beyond a few quarterbacks, kickers, punters, and long snappers and the occasional defensive lineman in the event of high injuries on a roster, the NFL does not care about any former players like McCarron who are now over a certain age not playing in the NFL, for the NFL knows they can be replaced in shorter order within a two years with some of these spring league players and also be paid far less and still have more time for a longer career.

So it makes one wonder why wouldn’t the NFL throw enough money at Fox and Disney for the UFL, and provide indirect material support, so as to secure that larger share of such players for the NFL?

All the same, I don’t see that the NFL will wait more than three seasons if the league is a total dud, but hey when a hub league could draw some ratings even without as much integration and exposure to the gambling, well there is far more upside now.

I figure that the next union contract will be key in the decision. I also predict that the players will drop their current union for another one.

Meanwhile as the NFL foresaw in the formation of the USFL 2.0, the winds of change are blowing faster for NCAA football such that it does not look like it will be long before the SEC and the Big Ten run their shows on their own. Disney has already invested so as to virtually buy the rest of NCAA athletics other than its hefty share of NCAA football and basketball, so it’s not like Disney will not be more of player in college athletics in time.

As an example, the teams in the SEC and the Big Ten have already secured virtually all the top high school recruits for 2024, whose parents and/or agent relatives know full well better how they can cash in really big since those winds never were for all those bygone “student athletes” of yore.

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