USFL 2023 Discussion

@laxtreme56 We got any data on the TV Ratings for week six?

They should come out around 1030 Eastern time tomorrow morning via ShowBuzzDaily

@laxtreme56 - so I see the numbers are out - Not great - not approaching a million viewers.

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Like many including Superb Owl, with great anticipation we await the honourable and wise analysis provided to us here at the CFL Forum.
/Bangs Gong

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I’ve triumphantly returned . Well, it wasn’t a great week for spring football unfortunately. The top USFL game notched 732k viewers, narrowly beating the WNBA on ABC head to head. Brittney Griner’s comeback game at 11PM eastern Friday night scored almost 700k viewers with 300k of them in the 18-49 demo. The top USFL game drew just 173k viewers in the demo, with the next 3 at 94k, 80k, and 46k respectively.

In other sporting events, the Preakness was meh, with just over 5 million viewers. The NHL conference finals are off to a sluggish start, not expecting huge ratings out of a Sunbelt Stanley Cup. NBA continues to draw big numbers and the top soccer draw of the week goes to LIGA MX with a robust 2.1M viewers for Chivas-Guadalajara on Univision Saturday night.

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A little further analysis from me.

Football fatigues is real. No matter how many polls and stats say America loves football, like anything in life, moderation is key. Whereas the CFL and even indoor football are different enough to carve out a niche in the states, 2 competing spring leagues isn’t going to bode well for either league long term. A collective 20+ weeks of spring football is probably just too much to handle at this point, and probably at any point.

The USFL demos just aren’t appealing. The nostalgia aspect and being seen as the more “conservative” of the 2 spring leagues, means millennials and Gen Z just aren’t buying into the Fox football league. If I’m Fox, I’m begging Brady to do a few “practice sessions” commentating USFL games, ratings would go through the roof. However, I don’t think Brady would go for this, plus Fox would need to add even more onto his astronomical salary.

Lastly, they need to ditch the hubs ASAP. Either move the Stars or Generals to Canton, or ditch them entirely. Having Pittsburgh call Ohio “home” has been disastrous so far. I’m not sure the league will find suitable rents in Philadelphia, NY/NJ, or New Orleans either. Houston should move to Denver and become the Gold next season. I really don’t think Fox can do another hub year and keep advertisers happy. NBC specifically said last year that they were disappointed in attendance and wanted to see improvements. I don’t think NBC will stick around much longer unless all teams are in their respective markets.

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Well they made the bed they sleep in, and here we are.

They thought most people would not care about hubs either, so that part was also wrong as predicted by me and others. They learned nothing from the pandemic and television ratings that were down then despite more people at home.

The nostalgia crap from avid fans reminiscing from an entirely different venture that only shares a brand with this one is not going to help ANY new sports league. Their kids and grand kids don’t give a rip for sure.

We’ll see how all interests adjust. The NFL godfather of course is shielded with plausible deniability after their network partners Fox and NBC did them huge favours for two awful seasons.

May the plug finally be pulled in July on this edition of hub league football at the very least.

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If I were to place wagers on the USFL getting the plug pulled this summer - I would not bet on them killing it this summer - especially with the Godfather backstopping the USFL. If I were were the USFL I would wait until I knew that the XFL had defeated the USFL completely. The USFL could pull the plug and the XFL might die in a year, the XFL is the better product at this point in time but they are not super dominant. I would guess that the USFL/Godfather grind it out for two more years and then they tap out, especially if they are not bleeding AAF quantities of cash. Also if I were setting up suppliers I would want to wait until one was off the training wheels before I cut the other one off.

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All bets are off in this media climate. The proposition is far more expensive than ever to stay the losing course here, and the risk is up. I don’t agree with your conclusion or that “several year plan for the prototype” argument, which I have noted before.

Of course it is also possible that the plug can be pulled AND there is a rebrand or augmentation with the XFL, which so far has won so I’m not sure what scoreboard you are looking at now.

The XFL is not the only game in town in the spring, but they have all the advantages and a winning product already with or without this trash hub league as it stands now.

NFL godfather money alone is not going to fix, much as they had thought via their proxies, what is beyond broken, which is readily evident and definitely a disappointment to even all those optimists including especially at Fox.

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Sunday afternoon games not too good for at least two weeks in a row now. Makes you wonder how a 7pm eastern start would do.

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@Paolo_X - So your prediction is that this is the final season of the USFL? I give it next year and possibly another. Anyone else want to throw out a prediction on the death of the USFL?

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To have a chance to stay viable, I think they need to be in all 8 home markets next year. Even if that means rebranding an existing team to Canton/Ohio.

The ‘home’ games are such a bad look it hurts the credibility. People can understand the temporary thing but it needs to move beyond that as it’s spring competitor has already done in their year 1

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Exactly. After seeing the XFL crowds, even the piss-poor ones in Vegas and Orlando, it’s hard for the casual viewer to be entertained. What we’re seeing as well, the talent level is spread to thin between 16 spring football teams. Sure, there’s lots of guys that play college ball every year, and there’s always some diamonds in the rough. However, how many people are really watching D2/D3 football? There comes a point of diminishing returns when it comes to quality, and the vast majority won’t just watch football for the sake of it.

I also don’t believe there’s really a “war” between the XFL and USFL. Neither one cares if the other survives and each entity can tap out if/whenever they want. I don’t think either ownership group is really passionate about a spring football revolution, they just want to make money. If that money is not made Fox will just move onto another reality show, and Gerry Cardniale and Co. will continue to invest in major pro sports.

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Though by any prudent business measure Fox and the godfather NFL should pull the plug now, the real question is how much even MORE do they want to pay to stay the course, and get rid of the hubs, for one more season AND just who will pay for that on a losing venture and how?

I cannot predict what very wealthy folks with money to burn as risk capital will do with it, and neither can you. They will spend that money likely somewhere. Fox are not the people with that money now mind you unlike a few years ago when this all started. The media climate has changed just that quickly due in part, but not entirely, to the upheaval of cutting ALL the cords much as discussed in the streaming thread.

Right now, this loser is on course to run far higher expenses for a live league with 7 or 8 venues. Are the returns going to be that much higher on a far larger investment? We won’t know the numbers, but over 15 years ago NFL Europa was losing about $30M per year in those days when the NFL had that kind of money to burn brightly!

Here’s a prediction I will make now though. THE HUB LEAGUE IS OVER after this season.

Next up is to pull the plug entirely, or rebrand, or play godfather and go talk to the XFL and pay a whole lot more than they ever imagined.

And you Fox, just for mocking and taunting the other league in your arrogant promotions on Super Bowl Sunday, you also get to pay for all moving expenses, carry the boxes, clean up, and take out the trash.

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@laxtreme56 you going to let us know what the TV numbers look like and give us some insight when they come out?

It’ll be interesting to see what the ratings were for Memorial Day weekend down south.

The ratings won’t be released until tomorrow due to the holiday weekend. I’ll give my thoughts once they come out

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It will survive another season purely because it would look embarrassing it the league died after only two seasons, plus if the XFL implodes they might expand by grabbing some teams from that league and/or ditching the hub teams.

Not that the USFL will likely care, but the difference between it and CFL coverage, especially for the hub stadiums where neither side is really the “home team” is flat-out embarrassing. You watch a CFL game and see fairly good crowds (insert Toronto joke here), then you watch a USFL game and there’s all sorts of fancy camera work whether that’s close-in view of the field, drone footage, pylon cam etc. to purposely avoid seeing a shot of the stands - or at least the sections of the stands that haven’t been covered up.

Also, the general quality of the football, sure you might find a diamond here and there, but it largely looks like lower-tier NFL players and worse basically proving why they could never quite make it.

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Well we shall see here. I will take the under. If they decide to stay the course, it will not only cost them but cost them a whole lot more on an unproven and losing venture.

It’s certainly not any of our money, and now they are not going to make a whole lot up at the gate, in advertising during live games, sponsorship, or merchandising.

There is now the additional reality that is being ignored by some that includes the ADDITIONAL cost to repair what is now a damaged brand.

From the Spring Football Echo Chamber delusional fools one might hear now, “Well the XFL did it, so we can do it too!”

I am hardly the only one to remind them that yes, but YOUR hub league ideas did not work and are trash, and it’s easy for you to continue to be so optimistic after two successive failures when it’s certainly not costing you anything including if you make it to one of those lame hubs for games.

And no, the XFL does not want or need the USFL or any of its trash ideas like the whole hub concept they continue to excuse as anything but a terrible idea that certainly has not worked. But the XFL would sit down with the owners and controllers at the NFL and at Fox of course for a discussion.

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Yes, and of course some of us also would like to hear your thoughts and feelings about this all again there Mean Titanium Ted, so have at it please.

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