SBD/February 11, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Financially Troubled UFL Will Kick Off Third Season In '11; Creditors Will Be Paid

UFL lost $45-50M last year, owes $6M to creditors
UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue Thursday confirmed that the "financially troubled organization will kick off its third season in August as scheduled and that its creditors will be paid," according to Steve Carp of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Huyghue said that the UFL lost $45-50M last year, after losses of $32M during its inaugural '09 season, and owes approximately $6M to creditors. Among those owed money are the Las Vegas Locomotives players, "who have yet to receive their $20,000 bonuses for winning the UFL title game Nov. 27." Huyghue: "The owners have appropriated the money to pay the existing $6 million in expendables. We anticipate paying everyone within the next two weeks." Locomotives Owner Bill Hambrecht said that "part of the problem was with the UFL's Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters, which oversaw the dispersal of funds." Hambrecht: "You didn't know who was owed what. But that's all changed. Now the teams will directly pay their bills." Huyghue said that the league, "faced with mounting losses," briefly considered "suspending operations for this year." But the owners "decided to stay the course, sensing an opportunity for increased national visibility should the NFL fail to strike a new labor deal and suffer a work stoppage." Hambrecht: "We could be the only game in town. It's potentially a great opportunity for us to showcase our product." Huyghue said that the "key to turning things around financially will be a revised business model that calls for a reduction in costs, an increase in TV revenue and corporate sponsorships and identifying new investors for possible expansion in 2012 and beyond." Huyghue: "The owners are still probably going to lose $7 million each this year. But they are prepared for that and they're committed to seeing this venture through" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/11).

FIVE FOR FIGHTING: The UFL Thursday announced that it will remain a five-team league this year. Huyghue said that a sixth team will not be added for '11, but that the league continues to actively seek suitable expansion markets and investors. Huyghue: "At this point in time, making a financial commitment to fielding a sixth team would be irresponsible." The third annual UFL Championship Game will be played at a venue to be determined (UFL).
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