On January 1st, 2024, the XFL and USFL officially announced their merger, creating the United Football League (UFL). RedBird Capital Partners, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dany Garcia of the XFL, and FOX Sports owners of the USFL, decided to come together after competing against each other for one season.

The USFL played two seasons from 2022 to 2023. The XFL returned for one season in 2023 after shutting down due to COVID in 2020.

The new UFL provides a platform for promoting potential future NFL players. Players can show off their skills on a national stage in front of fans and scouts. They can also make some money playing football professionally. The average UFL player makes $5,500 per week.

Starting March 30th, 2024, the UFL will feature eight teams with 40 regular-season games, culminating in a two-week postseason. 

The first game will feature the two-time USFL champion Birmingham Stallions taking on the 2023 XFL champion Arlington Renegades on FOX.

What is the United Football League (UFL)?

The United Football League is a professional football league that plays its games during the spring. It extends Americans’ love for football after the NFL and college football seasons wrap up. The 2024 season marks the official debut of the United Football League, integrating the legacies and strengths of both the XFL and USFL under one roof. 

Eight teams will participate in the inaugural season. The cities involved with the United Football League are Birmingham, Houston, Memphis, Michigan, Arlington, Washington D.C., San Antonio and St. Louis. Expansion to new cities or the return on old teams from the 2023 season could happen as soon as the 2025 season.

The UFL Mission and Vision

The UFL’s mission revolves around creating a sustainable, exciting, competitive professional football league that complements the traditional Fall football calendar. The goal is to fill the void in professional football during the Spring into Summer.

Unlike its predecessors like the AAF, the UFL is built for the long term strategy with broadcast partners like FOX, ABC and ESPN. Disney also owns a small stake in the league.

UFL Gameplay and Rules

The UFL introduces a gameplay that blends traditional American football rules with its own unique spin to enhance the game’s pace, rules, safety, and viewer engagement. 

Rules like the double forward pass, overtime, points after touchdowns, and replay systems give the league a different feel than what fans are accustomed to with the NFL and college.

The UFL has a strong partnership with the NFL, allowing the league to test different rules and technologies for the National Football League. The UFL reports back their findings. This is something the XFL and USFL have done in the past.

The UFL will never to complete or try to overtake the NFL. They see themselves as more of a complement to the league rather than rivals.

UFL Teams and Key Players

The USFL conference features the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Roughnecks, Memphis Showboats, and Michigan Panthers. The XFL conference features the Arlington Renegades, D.C. Defenders, San Antonio Brahmas, and St. Louis Battlehawks.

St. Louis Battlehawks’ QB AJ McCarron is returning after an MVP 2023 XFL season. He pairs once again with WR Hakeem Butler. Meanwhile, QB Matt Corral joins the Birmingham Stallions for the first time, aiming to rejuvenate his football career and continue the Stallions winning ways.

On defense, NFL veterans like Vic Beasley and Reuben Foster bring high-caliber play and veteran leadership to the league. 

UFL Season Structure

The UFL’s inaugural season starts March 30th, 2024. This time of year places the UFL within the sports calendar against March Madness, the opening of the MLB season, and the Masters in April. The season ends with the UFL Championship game at The Dome at America’s Center on June 16th.

Why Fans Love UFL Football

There is a growing community of alt-football fans. These fans enjoy the NFL and other football leagues like the Indoor Football League or Canadian Football leagues—football that is not the NFL or college.

UFL Football stands out for its unique approach to fan engagement, making games and players more accessible to those who watch the league, unlike the NFL. The league feels more like a fans thing rather than a juggernaut like the NFL.

How to Watch UFL Games

UFL games are broadcast across various platforms, ensuring fans have multiple ways to watch. Partnerships with major broadcasters like ABC, ESPN, and Fox, along with streaming services like ESPN +, offer accessibility to most people.

The merged league has emphasized over-the-air network games rather than exclusive games on a streaming platform or cable. Over the next couple of years, the goal is to get as many eyeballs on the product as possible. Fans are used to watching football on these channels, lets give them some more.

Future of the UFL

The future of the United Football League looks promising. Over 80 million people are fans of the NFL. If the United Football league could get 20% of those fans to also be UFL fans. The league would be on par with the MLS.

Partnerships between FOX and Disney/ESPN should increase the chances of a spring football league’s survival. In the past, like the AAF, they had to pay for their air time.

However, we know the landscape of Spring football leagues. The USFL in the 80s only made it three seasons, while the XFL and AAF were short-lived for various reasons. A lot of capital is needed to run a professional football league. Between FOX Sports and RedBird Capital, they have the money and resources to do it. 

In the next two years, we will know whether this new league has the legs to exist and exist longer than USFL of the 80s. If these partners can’t do it, no one can.

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author avatar
Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of UFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL, USFL and UFL coverage since 2018.

1 Comment

  • Posted April 1, 2024 4:14 pm 0Likes
    by Shimmy

    I am all about alt. football from the mid sixties, professional football league of America to the continental football league, WFL, WLAF, original USFL current USFL AAF CFL any of the XFL,UFL 09-12 or the current UFL. Why is there not information on the current 2024 UFL rosters. Why in the box scores, there is no mention of the attendance at these games. what would be acceptable for The UFL. The Defenders play in the smallest stadium capacity wise, 18500-19000, however if its near capacity or even sold out, it would be a better atmosphere for the game. The MLS stadiums are smaller however they seem to put the fans right on top of the action. I am not a soccer fan, but flip over at times just to see stadiums themselves, like Providence Park in Portland, Salt lake City, Columbus, red bulls. I have been in CFL Winnipeg Bluebombers stadium capacity of 33000 great venue.

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