SBD/Jan. 17, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

UFL To Play '11 Season, Hopes To Settle Finances, Relocations

UFL league owners agree to fund '11 season
UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue in a message to fans Friday said that league owners in a BOD meeting two weeks ago agreed to fund an ’11 season because “they believe in the UFL and they believe in the progress” that the league has made. Huyghue wrote, “The reality is that most new businesses experience similar financial hardships. ... We are focused on continuing to build and grow the UFL on our terms, with a view towards delivering on our promises to our fans -- including to play great football. So let’s allow the off-season to run its course. We will catch up on our bills and resolve any issues with our business partners in due course. I hope people will be rooting for the United Football League not against it” (UFL). In Virginia, Dave Fairbank noted the UFL in "a few short days last week folded and relocated a franchise, and was sued by its most visible partner to recoup a multi-million dollar loan." UFL officials "decided to fold the Florida Tuskers" and move the franchise to Virginia. Meanwhile, Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban "filed a lawsuit in federal court to get the league to repay" a $5M loan. Huyghue said, "If we struggle along the way, if we stumble along the way, if we have financial problems, so be it. The point is and our focus is to continue to grow it, to make good, sound decisions and to keep our focus on providing football, and we continue to believe that we can do it." Huyghue said it "wasn't that Orlando failed" that prompted the move to relocate the Tuskers. Huyghue: "It was that even with the expectation of its growth in attendance, that the venue we had in Orlando [the Florida Citrus Bowl] was never going to be sufficient to get the kind of atmosphere we want at our games." Huyghue said that the league "still aims to field a sixth team for the 2011 season" (Newport News DAILY PRESS, 1/15).

WAITING TO BE PAID: SPORTBUSINESS JOURNAL's Liz Mullen notes UFL players are "still waiting to be paid for that league's championship game, which was played in late November." Las Vegas Locos DB Kevin Hobbs was "told that he won't get his check for that game until the end of this month." Hobbs said that "he received his paycheck for the Locos' last regular-season game, played Nov. 20, on Jan. 7 after receiving three e-mails from UFL officials telling him the check would be coming soon." He said that "it would be one thing if he had agreed to play for no pay." Hobbs: "I didn't sign up to work for free." The UFL "intends to play another season" in '11, but Hobbs "wonders about it." Hobbs: "They're saying there is going to be a season this year, and I am thinking, 'How is there going to be a season when you can't pay money due from last season?'" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/17 issue).
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