When the United Football League launched in 2009, I figured its business model was built around the idea that a long lockout in 2011 might lead to NFL players choosing to go to the UFL as their only option to see the field. That time is upon us. The UFL might need this lockout to extend long into the season to potentially grab enough good players to grab attention.
At the time, I thought it had a chance to work. I am now more skeptical. The league has not been run especially well. While the coaching staffs assembled are high quality with former NFL head coaches like Dennis Green and Jim Fassel running teams, the league has struggled financially. This is due in part to odd business decisions like directly competing head to head with the NFL and college football playing its games in the fall. They would have been better served playing in the spring, where there is no competition and few other places for football fans to turn for a fix. They also have done a poor job marketing their product. I have a great interest in their games and have hoped to watch a lot of their two seasons, but I could never figure out what nights their games were played or where they were on tv.
In short, I am not sure this league has the credibility to be a viable option for a lot of players. They initially were hoping to compete with the NFL for some middle of the road players by offering six figures. Nobody has really chosen the UFL over the NFL, though. Would any big time NFL player risk injury and a big contract to go to the UFL for less money they might not even see due to the league's poor stability?
I think the UFL was a good idea but executed poorly. It is not in a strong position to vie for NFL players even if there is a long lockout.