USFL CEO Cuadra Discusses League's Plans, Hopes To Cooperate With NFL
The “last thing” USFL President & CEO Jaime Cuadra and his league partners “want to do is compete with Roger Goodell and that giant space currently driven and dominated” by the NFL, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the BOSTON GLOBE. Cuadra said, “We realize who we are, and we realize who they are, and hopefully we’ll have a cooperative relationship with them as opposed to an antagonistic relationship.’’ Dupont wrote with a plan to “start play in spring 2014 with eight teams -- ideally one in Hartford as the New England entry -- the new USFL aspires to be the league that keeps players engaged in the game with the hope that they one day graduate to the NFL.” The USFL will pay players “all about the same, upward of $2,500 per game, or some $30,000-$35,000 per year, over a 14-game schedule.” The league will “write all the contracts, cut all the paychecks.” Cuadra said, “We’re looking at kids who may have been drafted in the seventh or sixth round and may have fallen off. ... Part of our tag line is, ‘Keeping the Dream Alive.'" He added, “We want (the NFL) to see us pretty much like they used to use NFL Europe -- a place where they could look for players who needed a year or two more experience on the field.’’
FOUNDING FIVE: Cuadra's company, EndZone Sports Management, acquired the USFL name “some 18 months ago,” and now, with a "large real estate developer aboard, the league is about to finalize paperwork with its first five franchises, some to be based in new stadia the league will build at a cost as high” as $500M each. Each stadium will have a seating capacity of “about 25,000, and in most cases will be part of a larger real estate plan that includes commercial space.” Cuadra was “reluctant to name charter cities." But he said, "There are markets right now in ... Southern California, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama ... and we are very, very far along with a team in Ohio.” He also said that a team in Hartford “could play at Rentschler Field.” Cuadra said that the league’s “master plan calls for all teams to be sold to individual investors.” The “price of ownership” is $1M per team. On top of seed money, USFL owners "must prove" they have another $6.5M "in ready cash to run the team each year.” Cuadra said that ideally the USFL will “evolve in three or four years to a 16-team league, playing almost exclusively in cities” without NFL or MLB clubs (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/17).