Friday, January 14, 2011

UFL commish addresses financial woes

UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue addressed his league's perceived financial woes in a statement released Friday:

"The United Football League was established to bring high-quality entertainment to markets that do not currently have professional football teams.  We have succeeded in doing so.

"To date, the owners of the UFL have invested more than $100 million dollars to launch this league - notwithstanding the incredibly tough economic times and without request for a single dime from any local municipality.  Last week at our Board Meeting the owners agreed to fund 2011 because they believe in the UFL and they believe in the progress that we have made.

"The UFL has provided jobs for almost 500 players over the last two years who might not have otherwise had employment opportunities in professional football, at a cost of more than $25 million dollars in salary.  Almost 100 of these players found jobs with NFL clubs as a direct result of their participation in the UFL.

"The NFL does not have a financial interest in the UFL, yet has benefited from, in most cases, free access to these players.

"In excess of 500,000 fans have attended UFL games during the past two years at an average cost of less than $20 per person, and for many of them it was their first opportunity to see professional football in person.  More than 4 million viewers have watched UFL games on television or through web streaming and on YouTube.

"We have provided affordable family entertainment at a time when our economy has otherwise taken away such opportunities.

"We have created jobs in local communities that did not previously exist.  The UFL has had an impact of more than $10 million dollars per year in each of its franchise cities.  In many cases, venues that were otherwise dormant have enjoyed revenue from UFL events.

"Many local police, fire and other municipality services have also benefited from these events.

"We are proud to have helped bring a focus to cities such as Omaha, Nebraska as a hotbed not only for their love of football but for their contagious sense of civic pride.  The Omaha Nighthawks sold out all four of their home games in 2010 and through the success of the Nighthawks we have told incredible stories of people like Head Coach Joe Moglia, a local running back who came home to play in Ahman Green and the rejuvenation of Maurice Clarett to name a few.

"The reality is that most new businesses experience similar financial hardships.  We may even see a lockout by the NFL next season because of increased expenses their teams’ owners are incurring.

"We are focused on continuing to build and grow the UFL on our terms, with a view towards delivering on our promises to our fans – including to play great football.

"So let’s allow the off-season to run its course.  We will catch up on our bills and resolve any issues with our business partners in due course.

"I hope people will be rooting for the United Football League not against it.  If we win everyone wins – players, fans, communities and owners."

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