Football is, without a doubt, the biggest and most popular sport in the country, with millions of fans following the action every season. Not only is football popular in the US, but it also attracts viewership from a global audience. The number of fans watching around the world is increasing every year, even though viewers in the US have decreased slightly.
However, most football fans only watch the NFL, which is by far the biggest and most successful sports league. It attracts the best players and the most attention from the media, and NFL executives have been responsible for pushing the sport overseas too. The sport is huge among sports bettors too, and you can find the latest NFL betting odds online easily at all major sportsbooks.
The Return of the USFL
For many years, the NFL has remained largely uncontested as the number one sporting option, though some alternative football leagues have been started. The USFL was originally established in 1982, offering a different schedule to the NFL and allowing football fans to enjoy their favorite sport in the offseason.
While the original USFL didn’t last long, shutting down in 1986, it returned for the first time in 2022. For now, it contains eight teams, including the New Jersey Generals, the Memphis Showboats, and the Los Angeles Express. With the NFL losing popularity in recent years, what does the return of the USFL mean for the premier football league?
Will the NFL and USFL Compete for Viewers?
While the NFL and USFL are both technically rival football leagues, it’s very unlikely that they’ll be competing for viewers. Fans of the NFL are unlikely to stop watching their favorite teams just because there’s a new kid on the block. In addition, the seasons don’t overlap.
Perhaps the biggest and most important feature of the USFL is that it runs during the NFL offseason. This was the original reason behind the creation of the league, to give football fans more sport to enjoy after the post-season of the NFL. The USFL season begins in mid-April and ends in mid-June.
While it’s unlikely to affect the NFL in terms of viewership, it will affect the XFL, another alternative football league. The XFL championship game is held in May, and it’s possible that the executives of both leagues will need to work together to prevent scheduling conflicts.
What’s Next for the USFL?
The USFL has exceeded many expectations by lasting past its first season, something that previous attempts at spring football had failed to do. It’s been helped out partially by major investment from FOX, which has injected $150 million into the startup league, but it’s not clear yet how far that investment will go and whether the USFL will turn a profit in the long run.
For now, attendances for the league have been low, but considering it’s still a newly growing league, it’s been doing well. TV ratings have been good, beating the XFL on many occasions, and this is definitely a good sign. There’s clearly a market for springtime football, and many NFL fans have been enthusiastic about the new league.
For now, the USFL is very modest about its ambitions, sticking to low salary caps and positioning itself as a developmental league. It’s also given FOX a chance to try out new concepts, such as drone cameras and live audio from players, coaches, and referees. This helps the league stand out while also giving FOX a way to try out new ideas that could potentially be used in the NFL in the future.