Earlier this year the news broke that the United States Football League (USFL) would be returning in 2022 on FOX. The news dropped roughly halfway through The Spring League season, in one of their FOX broadcasts. When it was announced the league stated they would target between eight and ten teams, that would all be associated with cities.
Since then, we have a much better insight on what the USFL is planning for 2022.
Last month, news started making the rounds that USFL officials were in talks with representatives of the city of Birmingham, AL to host all eight teams for its inaugural season.
Things have been moving very fast, in fact the city secured the $3.6M needed to secure the season in Birmingham last week. Many have been wondering how the talks have been going since the money has been accounted for. Well, it looks like things are still going well.
Art Franklin (CBS 42) caught up with the President of the Alabama Sports Council, Gene Hallman to discuss the latest around the discussions. During which, we get a better look into the talks and learn some more details on the timeline.
When asked how close we are to the goal line, in regards to finalizing a deal, Hallman responds “I think we’re about the 5-yard line”.
He also discussed how impressed he is with the turnaround and said that this shows how much you can accomplish when you get everybody in a room on board with a single initiative.
When discussing the reason the USFL is looking to host a bubble season, Hallman spoke through a good list of bullet points, with the main being about planning and keeping costs low.
They’re doing it because they want to make sure they start right, keep costs under control. They have plenty of funding to make it at least a three year commitment to this league, which is something the previous leagues have lacked.
Last month we reported that FOX is looking to invest $150M into the USFL over the first three seasons. So, it looks as if the league has a plan in place, which as Hallman mentions is more than a lot of the previous spring leagues we’ve seen come and go.
Exposure is also something that Hallman knows can be great for the city. He went into detail on the number of games that will be held throughout the season, lauding that half of the matchups will air on network television.
You have national television for all 43-games, imitating from right here in Birmingham. And half of those 43-games will be broadcast on network television. So, just great exposure for our community.
Beyond all of that, Hallman sees the huge potential in this deal with all eight teams needing housing, food and entertainment during their time in Birmingham.
50,000 room nights from the league, to put their players and staff up for that period of time. A huge economic impact for the retail sector here in Jefferson county.
When pressed on when everything might be finalized, Hallman deflected and stated that the lawyers were working on it at the moment but expects it’ll be soon. He also sheds some more light on the USFL’s timeline going into the 2022 season.
The attorneys are working on it now so who knows, but it should be fairly quick. Look, they’re gonna start preseason March the first, with practices. So, they gotta do a draft, there’s so much football work that the USFL must do. So time is precious, but we can make it happen as a community.
We knew that the USFL was targeting April 15th for kickoff, this is the first we’re hearing about preseason and practice timelines. If the timeline comes to fruition, that gives the USFL 46 days from preseason to kickoff.
Everyday it feels as if were getting closer on finalizing a deal. Many close to the situation expect something to be done this week and an official announcement to follow shortly after.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more on the 2022 USFL season.
Do you plan on tuning into the USFL season next year? Which teams would you like to see make a return? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.