Venues Now recently talked with Carl Adkins. He is the director of operations for the USFL. For 20 years, he was the general manager of the old Georgia Dome.
Adkins was brought in 32 days before the kick-off of the 2022 USFL season. His role as a consultant quickly turned into a full-time job.
He had a couple of interesting things to say about if there would be a year two for the USFL.
“From what Adkins has heard, the USFL has committed to a second season in 2023. There has been no official announcement about next year and no decisions have been made on whether all eight teams will play again in one city or split equally among two markets, as well as the possibility of selling individual franchises. Those decisions will be made over the next several weeks, he said.”
If the USFL wants to expand its operation slightly, adding a second location could help optics. Birmingham loves their Stallions, but there is a home game every weekend. The biggest complaint from the casual fans is watching the game with no fans in the stands.
Football fans of the NFL and college expect big crowds and don’t know or care what the USFL’s long-term business strategy is. Adding a second location for year two would show fans the league is for real and growing.
Just because the team’s city is Pittsburgh, for example, doesn’t mean fans in the city care yet. They need to play in those cities for the fans to start paying attention.
It seems like for a team to move to a home location, they need an owner, and the league won’t make a move to a full-time home location without one.
Adkins talks about some of the attendance numbers for games at Protective Stadium.
“The Birmingham Stallions, the USFL’s designated “home team,” have drawn decent crowds of 10,000 to 15,000. Otherwise, attendance has been sparse for the seven other teams with 1,500 to 2,000 in the stands, Adkins said.”
Adkins says that Fox Sports is more focused on broadcast content than attendance. Hence the $10 tickets, and kids get in for free.
The article discusses the upcoming Garth Brooks concert and World Games, causing the league to move games to Legion Field. They also talk about the USFL playing its Playoffs and Championship games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.