Key Points

  • The United Football League faces skepticism about its long-term viability.
  • UFL’s $11 million Army sponsorship deal has been criticized internally.
  • Retired Maj. Gen. Alex Fink and deputy chief Ignatios Mavridis voiced concerns over the deal’s effectiveness.
  • The UFL’s online presence and social media engagement are notably low.
  • Discussions include the potential influence of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the league’s success.

We reported earlier about the UFL’s deal with the Army and the visit on Capital Hill from UFL brass including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. According to a report by Steve Beynon from, the U.S. Army’s $11 million sponsorship deal with the United Football League (UFL) faced internal criticism before being signed.

The XFL had been working on this deal prior to merging with the USFL. The Army had concerns about how well the XFL did in 2023 and was it worth the money to do with the UFL now.

The Army pitch originally started as a $25 million sponsorship with the XFL in February 2023.

Internal Warnings

Recently retired Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, the chief of the Army’s marketing arm at the time, warned in March 2023 that the XFL had little meaningful online presence and low social media engagement. Fink noted in a memo obtained by that less than 1,500 posts fell within the 18-35 age range, the Army’s target audience.

“These posts do not demonstrate interest or excitement from our prospect audience or influencers,” Fink noted in the memo. “Less than [1,500] posts fall within the 18-35 age range.”

Ratings Concerns

In August, Ignatios Mavridis, the deputy chief for Army marketing, warned that XFL ratings were underperforming and that he did not anticipate much increase in interest down the road. Mavridis stated in an internal memo that money spent on the XFL would be redundant, given the Army’s ad placement in the NFL and other higher-profile sporting events.

“The XFL provides minimal unique market coverage not already supported by the Army’s current media plan,” Mavridis said in the memo. He recommended the Army not pursue any major relationship with the league.

Partnership Recommendations

Mavridis recommended that the Army not pursue any major relationship with the league. Just focus on the local level at games or events.

“Limit any partnership activities with the XFL to the local level,” he noted, meaning it should just be an environment in which recruiters are present to talk to attendees.

Dwayne Johnson’s Influence

Beynon’s piece indicates that the sponsorship deal came to pass thanks in part to Army chief of staff Randy George. The potential of a partnership with UFL co-owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appears to be a factor on why this deal happened. The idea is that Johnson’s social media followings could make an endorsement from him more valuable than any level of in-game sponsorship, but it is uncertain if he has any obligation to promote the Army. This is why the deal happened with people around George saying no.

“despite the officials around him warning against the idea.”

Future Implications

While it is reasonable for officials within an organization to have varying views on the value of a sponsorship, the internal discussions questioning the value of the UFL are noteworthy. But it is too soon to tell. However it is hard to compare the XFL in 2023 to the UFL in 2024. The XFL was going up against the USFL and was only on ABC, ESPN, FX and ESPN2. The UFL is on FOX< ABC and ESPN and has no other spring football competition.

It was noted in the article that “internal data” shows the UFL sponsorship will only result in 160 to 891 recruits. Anyone watching the games know how much exposure the Army is getting. The TV ratings so far have been a bright spot for the United Football league. The outcome of this partnership remains to be seen. We will know if the Army was happy with the deal if they renew in 2025.

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.

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