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SBD/August 11, 2011/Franchises
Financial Woes Force UFL Hartford Colonials To Suspend Operations For '11
Published August 11, 2011
TIME TO PAY UP: In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs notes with the Colonials suspending operations, there is a "trail of unpaid bills left behind." As Huyghue "insists on keeping Hartford in play, instead of flatly folding the franchise, it is something he and his core investors must face." If UFL officials "expect one iota of support in negotiating the costs of Rentschler Field, they must pay people they already owe." Motion Inc. is owed $16,500 for producing a weekly television show for the Colonials, and company Owner Glenn Orkin said that he "gave the Colonials a favored rate and got burned." He added that he "talked to others who had given the Colonials good deals, too, and got burned." Huyghue, who grew up just minutes outside Hartford, claims that he "hasn't given up hope on Hartford." But Jacobs writes, "Why should Hartford put any hope in the UFL? ... Before they even think about looking for a better stadium deal, they have to face up to the fact they have burned bridges around here. When all the bills are paid, then come back" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/11).
A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB: In Sacramento, Mark Billingsley reports while the UFL has cut its schedule from eight games to six for the '11 regular season, Sacramento Mountain Lions Owner Paul Pelosi is "increasingly optimistic about the future of the UFL and his franchise." While not guaranteeing a '12 season, Pelosi said that the "hard economic decision to fold the Hartford franchise was a smart one for the UFL in the long run." Pelosi: "This is not going to be our last year in operation. I'm confident of that reality. I'm very enthusiastic about our start. This is better for the league from a business standpoint." He added, "We know we have a viable product on the field, and what we need is four or five other cities with investment groups to say to us, 'Hey, sell us a franchise.'" Billingsley notes TV contracts "continue to be a sticking point for the UFL and the Mountain Lions." The team has been "trying to secure a TV deal since the end of last season, when Versus carried all four home games." But NBC's cable network "is not broadcasting games in 2011, at least not yet." Some UFL games will appear on HDNet this season, and the Mountain Lions are "scrambling so hard they have even contacted" the local PBS station (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/11).