A while back rumors began circulating about the opening a new league called the United Football League. Well, it appears this new league is going to kick off this October. The league will kick off with four franchises located in seven cities (no that's not a typo). They are Las Vegas/Los Angeles, New York/Hartford, Orlando and San Francisco/Sacramento. If I'm reading it correctly, that would mean the SF/Sacto team would play games in both San Francisco AND Sacramento. For now they're indicating they'll play their SF games at AT&T Park. While odds are probably high it will fail, it might actually be a decent business decision to play games in multiple locations. It keeps any interest relatively fresh.
According to the Sports Business Journal, the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is leading an investment group that will spend approximately $30 million on the four franchises. They're looking at the 2009 season as their soft opening before a full-scale 2010 season. The first season will start in October and after a 6-week season, culminate with a championship game over Thanksgiving weekend.
The most interesting aspect of teh SBJ article was at the very end:
Vuono and Huyghue said the NFL continues to offer assistance and cooperation in areas like officiating. With the demise several years ago of NFL Europa, the NFL could treat the UFL as a minor league.
The UFL ultimately will try to regionalize its teams so they are affiliated with specific NFL clubs.
Apparently Pelosi (Mr. not Nancy) was Paul Tagliabue's roommate at Georgetown so I'd imagine that gives him a tiny bit of pull with Der Kommissar now. There are plenty of players who end up out of football by the end of training camp, so why not have another opportunity for them? No league will ever be able to compete on the same level as the NFL, so the next best bet is either come up with something unique (like what was Arena Football) or try and get yourself in as the minor league.
Up to this point, college football has been the minor league for the NFL. If a league could develop into an affiliate league, you might have a better option on top of the practice squad. You get the non-roster folks a chance to compete and show their stuff outside of just practice. I don't know if it will ever work out, but I think there's definite value in it.