FanDuel - WFBC

May 30, 2007

Cuban Plots Friday-Night United Football League: Mark Cuban and investment banker William Hambrecht are planning a pro league to compete with the NFL. "We think there is more demand for pro football than supply," said Cuban, who believes the salary cap makes it easier for a rival to poach players drafted after rounds 1 and 2.

posted by rcade to football at 05:51 PM - 34 comments

So I gather they want to play in the fall? Yeah, good luck with that.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:19 PM on May 30

This league has about as good a shot as the Mavs in a playoff series.

posted by dyams at 07:33 PM on May 30

Would this mean we can kiss the CFL goodbye? Maybe Cuban and his big-buck-buddies wouldn't mind sinkin' a few dollars into Canadian expansion (or they could look at it as an existing 8-team league) and marketing the hell out of it to a US market. We all know it's a superior, more exciting product anyway ;) I'm also kind of keen on the idea of bumpin' the CFL season start (like the competing spring leagues tried) to maximize the potential for fair-weather fans to get into the game. But this is digressing to a CFL rant, so I'll cut myself off here.

posted by Spitztengle at 07:37 PM on May 30

XFL ringing any bells there Mister Cuban? CFL will never go bye bye. You honestly think the Canadian government would allow that?

posted by Drood at 07:45 PM on May 30

Cuban's blog post explaining the rationale. Seems far-fetched and ill-considered thus far. But if they bring back the thing where they throw the football in the middle of the field and fight for possession, I'm so there.

posted by rcade at 08:15 PM on May 30

#1 No shit, Sherlock. It's why the NFL makes asstons of money. #2 Come again? I think the NFL like the money from being the sole competitor. If anything, a competitor would force the NFL to change their policies, such as player-retirement benefits. Point #3 doesn't even make any sense if lieu of argueing for the UFL having a chance. #4 Yea, so you dillute the game with more teams creating a need to use crappier players? Sounds like a recipe for success! #5 That...says a lot? Vince was/is a brilliant marketer and look how far it got him with the XFL #6 Oh, I forgot, the NFL isn't. And as an additional rebuttal, see the XFL for why this won't work. A development league of sorts, I could see working to an extent. Find its own little nitch, like the CFL or Arena football. But, no way a direct competitor to the NFL will work.

posted by jmd82 at 09:01 PM on May 30

You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger and you most certainly do not mess with the NFL.

posted by jaygolf at 09:09 PM on May 30

Could it work? any chance?

posted by everett at 10:55 PM on May 30

The thing that nobody's mentioned, and that was only briefly touched on in the article, is that the NFL has been found to be a restrictive monopoly. To be honest, I'm surprised nobody else has tried to work up a real challenge to them since the USFL ruling. The USFL's legal strategy backfired on them. They concentrated all their energies on proving the monopoly, assuming that the jury would award them massive damages and force the NFL into a merger. Obviously, that assumption was faulty. The hard work's been done, though. The monopoly has been proven, so why not press the issue? Or am I just showing my legal ignorance?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:10 AM on May 31

In this day and age, there aren't many big-name players who are going to risk their relatively short window of opportunity in pro football messing around with another new league. It's not the '60s with Broadway Joe signing with the AFL. Cuban is your typical much-too-rich egomaniac who thinks anything can be accomplished if you just throw enough money at it. It's been proven wrong for decades now.

posted by dyams at 07:19 AM on May 31

The NFL, like the other pro leagues in the U.S. outside of soccer and the WNBA, has expanded about as far as it can expand. Owners are probably missing those expansion fees they got in the last 20 years. At some point, I expect to see a league try to develop a second-tier league for the biggest markets that don't have a team and the cities with such a large TV audience they could support two teams. The best way to make this work would be to promote and relegate. There's no reason a no-hope ownership like the ones in Arizona and Detroit deserve to stay in the NFL forever. Make them subject to the same pressures as their players and coaches, and force them to win to stay in.

posted by rcade at 08:13 AM on May 31

In this day and age, there aren't many big-name players who are going to risk their relatively short window of opportunity in pro football messing around with another new league. I wouldn't be so sure. The franchise player designation makes a lot of players mad. I could see some of them peeling off to a rival league, and Cuban's right to think that the salary cap creates an opportunity to grab lower-round players who are slotted into rookie deals.

posted by rcade at 08:28 AM on May 31

I think Cuban is right that there is more demand. I was a big Tampa Bay Bandits fan. Teams without football teams or with teams like the Cardinals would love to be able to embrace a good or at least exciting team.

posted by bperk at 09:08 AM on May 31

So just where would these franchises plan on playing their games? College stadiums? Just because a few angry players who think they're not getting what they should might decide to sign on with a rival league doesn't mean TV networks and 65,000 spectators per game are going to follow. If people want to suck up watered-down, college-level talent, mainly comprised of guys not good enough to cut it in the NFL, have at it. I don't have time to sit in front of the tube and watch football on Thursday night, Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday night. Becoming more of a couch potato in order to watch this proposed league, just for the sake of watching football, doesn't sound too appealing.

posted by dyams at 10:11 AM on May 31

I watch college level talent all the time. On Saturdays. In occupied college stadiums. I think the resounding point here is that in recent times this idea has been attempted and failed. Just about twice so far.

posted by THX-1138 at 10:27 AM on May 31

There's the chance it could work. There are plenty of people who enjoy football that might not mind getting behind another team. As far as the level of talent, but between arena football, the USFL and xfl, haven't there been players from each that have went on to fame in the NFL? There's a good chance that with some careful scouting, they could find the players who've been overlooked by the NFL. The main thing to making it work will be sticking it out for years as a laughing stock, until it builds up a bit of history. Part of the reason fans may have not committed to the new leagues in the past is that they figured they would be gone in a year or two. There is inertia that any new sport needs to work against though, fans tend to have grown up as fans of their favorite MLB, NFL, or NBA team. Until you have a history of heartbreak with a team, it's hard to be really committed to them. Than again, I'm secretly waiting for the Milwaukee Beers.

posted by drezdn at 11:13 AM on May 31

Cuban is your typical much-too-rich egomaniac who thinks anything can be accomplished if you just throw enough money at it. Personally, not like I need to come to Cuban's defense on this one, but he wasn't born much-too-rich. This guy has got some serious business acumen. He needs to see a viable and sustainable (or sellable) business model or I don't think he'd do it. Mo' money makes in mo' better in most cases, yes. But it can't be sustained if it's just a money pit. The thrill of wasting big money has to get tiresome even for the uber-rich. Does it sound like I wish I could find out?

posted by Spitztengle at 11:14 AM on May 31

but he wasn't born much-too-rich I didn't say he was, and I understand how he made much of his money. When much of your plan, from what I've read, is based on the idea of throwing more money at potential players because another, established league has instituted a salary cap and certain ones may be disgruntled, it sounds to me like he's trying to purchase credibility for his proposed league. Maybe some will call that "serious business acumen," but it sounds to me more like a way to ensure the venture goes belly-up within a few seasons.

posted by dyams at 11:30 AM on May 31

Cuban should be smarter than trying to take on the NFL. There is no way the UFL can survive playing at the same time as the NFL season.

posted by Grndizzle at 02:58 PM on May 31

it sounds to me like he's trying to purchase credibility for his proposed league. dyams, this is the United States of America, in the twenty-first century. Nobody earns credibility anymore. Money walks, the rest of us crawl. There is no way the UFL can survive playing at the same time as the NFL season. Which is why high school and college football are such failures. So, if you came home Friday night, and there was a pro football game on, you wouldn't bother watching? Granted, this league isn't going to be stocked with with players whose names are written in the stars, but they'd still be players whose names you recognize, who went to schools you know. Hell, on a slow day, I watched the USFL, and the XFL, for that matter, and I'll probably watch this at least once or twice if it starts up. I don't have time to sit in front of the tube and watch football on Thursday night, Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday night. I'm don't have as riveting a social life as you do. That, and I deeply enjoy watching football.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:31 PM on May 31

COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS A FAILURE? WHAT THE CHIT??

posted by samPman at 04:38 PM on May 31

Anybody know whatever happened to the plans for a football league for NCAA grads? I think there was an FPP about that a while ago but I'm too lazy to look for it right now.

posted by Spitztengle at 04:38 PM on May 31

Hell,on a slow day, I watched the USFL, and the XFL, for that matter, and I'll probably watch this at least once or twice if it starts up. I do mean this with all due respect, TBH, but I think you and not too awfully many others were watching, and that may have been the problem. I just don't think that the market is there for another major football league. If it was, I think that it would have worked already. Donald Trump had a hand in the USFL and he couldn't change their fortunes. Course, he also went bancrupt there, didn't he?

posted by THX-1138 at 04:49 PM on May 31

I can see it working -- not really competing with the NFL but offering an alternative in locations where the NFL is not. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Antonio, etc. Major or semi-major markets where the NFL does not play. Everyone says you cannot compete with the NFL, and you cannot from the start. You have to start at the bottom and build. Biggest building would probably come in next labor problem with NFL. But I think they should play on Wednesday and Thursday instead of Friday.

posted by graymatters at 06:54 PM on May 31

"Could it work? any chance? posted by everett at 10:55 PM CDT on May 30" If a snowball has a chance of lasting 3 seconds in Hell, then Cuban's idea certainly has a chance. Cuban would be better off setting up a developmental league for the NFL on the level that minor baseball league serve MLB. NFL teams can put money in USA based farm teams and help control player development.

posted by Cave_Man at 07:26 PM on May 31

CFL will never go bye bye. You honestly think the Canadian government would allow that? Is that a rhetorical question, because my answer is "yes".

posted by mkn at 08:29 PM on May 31

THE NEW LEAGUE WILL SUCK AS DOES THE DALLAS MAVERICKS GO SPURS GO!!! ON ANOTHER NOTE GET YOUR NACHOS $3 GET EM EH I LOVE AMERICA

posted by CAGON at 11:45 PM on May 31

Dude, we do not say suck. We say intakes air sharply. As in "People who post with their caps lock on intake air sharply" (actually, it's just my thing-I'm a revolutionary--VIVA LA THX!!!) ((oops))

posted by THX-1138 at 12:03 PM on June 01

THE NEW LEAGUE WILL SUCK AS DOES THE DALLAS MAVERICKS GO SPURS GO!!! ON ANOTHER NOTE GET YOUR NACHOS $3 GET EM EH I LOVE AMERICA That could be my new favorite post. Does this qualify for a red shirt, benching, or whatever we decided to call it?

posted by hawkguy at 12:50 PM on June 01

CAGON voted "Rookie of the Year"

posted by dyams at 01:00 PM on June 01

The UFL won't survive being played during the same time as the NFL, and NCAA football seasons. There's already football games on 5-6 days a week, who wants to watch the last cuts of the NFL, when you can watch football that means something. Football is about tradition!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by Grndizzle at 05:01 PM on June 01

CAGON voted "Rookie of the Year I thought that honor is to be bestowed upon MGDADDYO for his story about his testicle.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:31 PM on June 01

Ideally, Cuban's league should get underway a few weeks before the NFL preseason starts. Jump the gun and gain a fan base with unrivaled coverage. If they keep the game professional (XFL's biggest mistake), and offer a unique product (how about marketing the league as a more hard-nosed brand of football? The NFL has softened up the game in the past few years with it's roughing rules) I think there's a chance, albeit slight, for the UFL to thrive.

posted by PawnshopMarimba at 09:45 PM on June 01

CAGON voted "Rookie of the Year I thought that honor is to be bestowed upon MGDADDYO for his story about his testicle. I stand corrected. At best, the race is too close to call.

posted by dyams at 08:09 AM on June 02

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