Is 2009 the year to launch a new football league?


Believe it or not, the United Football League says it is going to start its first season this fall. Negotiations are still underway on a television contract. But even in this tough economy, someone is willing to bet another $30 million on football.  

Several someones, in fact. Among the investors in the UFL are Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), investment banker Bill Hambrecht (best known for high tech, not sports) and Google Sr. VP Tim Armstrong.

Come October, the league plans to launch with four teams in Las Vegas/Los Angeles, New York/Hartford, San Francisco/Sacramento and Orlando. Two East Coast, two West Coast. The teams will play a six-game season, ending in a Championship Game, tentatively scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend in Vegas.

“With the confirmation of four teams and the announcement of an infusion of a $30 million investment to operate the league, the UFL is excited to bring affordable, accessible football to underserved markets this October,” said Commissioner Michael Huyghue. “The ‘UFL Premiere’ season will allow us to set the foundation within the cities we feel would be a good fit, demonstrate the terrific talent of the coaches and players at our high level of competition, and integrate innovation into all aspects of the league so we are ready for expansion in 2010,” he added.

The UFL said it will train and house its players in Casa Grande, Arizona where a $20 million training complex is being constructed for both the city and league use. The UFL will begin signing players in July and training camp will begin in Casa Grande on September 1st. “League officials are currently in negotiations with various stadiums and these agreements will be announced as they are finalized. The UFL is also in final negotiations with a major sports cable network for a weekly nationally-televised game,” the league said.