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SBD/Issue 19/Leagues & Governing Bodies
UFL Kicks Off Inaugural Season Seeking To Feed Need For Football
Published October 8, 2009
TRYING TO FIT IN: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Naylor notes the UFL "believes it can find its niche in the crowded fall football schedule." UFL COO Frank Vuono: "We think you have to play when people expect to see football and have an appetite for football on TV. We don't want to go head-to-head so we're going to play on weeknights." Vuono added, "We've put everything we can into place and now it's time to open the doors, debut the product and let people in" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/8). UFL VP & GM Rick Mueller noted "not many leagues have survived" that have attempted to offer an alternative to the NFL. But he added, "I really believe in the system we've got in place from a cost standpoint, but I also believe there are people out there and the reception has been great" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 10/8).
Huyghue's Model Is
To Keep Costs Low
MARKETING PROBLEM: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp notes the Redwoods and Locomotives both are based in Phoenix, while the Sentinels and Florida Tuskers are based in Orlando. Huyghue said that the league is "trying to limit costs, and having the teams live and train in two central locations saves money, even though it has made it difficult for the teams to establish roots in their communities." Huyghue: "It's hurt us in our marketing, no question. But we felt for the first year this was the best way to go. The priority is putting the teams together and put the best possible product on the field. It's a sacrifice we had to make" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/8). In Orlando, George Diaz writes of the UFL, "Where is the buzz? Where's the excitement? Most importantly, where's the marketing plan?" It is "hard to sell [the Tuskers] to the community when you haven't even established a ticket office," as "all of that is being handled through a league office in Jacksonville." Tuskers coach Jim Haslett: "I'm not in the marketing department, but to be honest with you I thought the marketing was poor and the worst thing about the league. The talent, the facilities, everything else has been done first class but the marketing department has fallen behind" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/8).