The USFL has been making news today leading up to its Championship game July 3rd on FOX. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal learned more business details from Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks. Including how well the league is doing selling ads for the 2023 season.
“Fox emerged from the upfront ad sales marketplace with the USFL’s second season already more than 50% sold, the network’s Exec VP/Sports Sales Mark Evans said. “We’ve been able to secure a significant portion of next year’s inventory already in this year’s upfront,” he noted. “Advertisers were able to plan for it this year, have a ratings track they could study and better see the long-term viability of the league.”
This is a big change from the 2022 USFL season. Marketers had already budgeted for other things, so they needed to shift money around when the USFL was announced in the Fall. This time, they can already plan for the 2023 season, and FOX had already sold half before the season even finished. This is huge for the league, despite a dip in ratings. However, if you compare the league to other sports properties, it is doing well for its first season.
“Look at the rights fee increases earned in the last year by F1, NHL, EPL, MLS. The USFL is already in that class in terms of viewership with room to grow as it gets into more markets.”
What makes the USFL so unique is that FOX owns the property and can act as the marketing arm.
“Some of the more unique sponsorships were sold to Apple, which supplied iPads on the sidelines, and T-Mobile, which had its brand on headsets worn by coaches and players. Gatorade was all over the sidelines, too, which is not a huge surprise given that the brand has a ubiquitous presence on the sidelines of most established leagues.”
Fans should be excited about season 2 coming in 2023. Stay with USFL News Hub for all the playoff coverage as we close out season 1.