The USFL Is Making a Comeback—Who Owns the New Version?

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Jan. 7 2022, Published 10:26 a.m. ET

The United States Football League, also known as the USFL, might bring to mind thoughts of a failed professional football league from the 1980s, but there’s a new USFL heading to the field. Unaffiliated with the former USFL that played from 1983 to 1985, the new USFL is under the control of Fox Sports.

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The eight-team football league's games will be televised in 2022 by both NBCUniversal and Fox, according to Deadline. Like the older version of the USFL, the new USFL will play in the spring and provide football entertainment for viewers outside of the regular NFL season. Who owns the USFL in 2022?

USFL
Source: USFL Facebook

To avoid conflicting with the NFL, the USFL will play a spring schedule.

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Is the USFL coming back in 2022?

The new USFL plans to return in April 2022 with eight new teams. According to SportingNews.com, there was another failed attempt in 2010 for a league by the same name to launch.

When looking at who owns the USFL in its latest form, it’s important to note that no one affiliated with the 1980s USFL is involved this time around. The president of the USFL is Brian Woods, while Fox Sports owns the league.

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AL.com reported in the fall that Fox Sports committed a total of $150 million to the project over three years and will be the official broadcast partner. Fox will carry 22 of the 43 games in 2022, with NBC Sports taking the other broadcasts.

Eight games will be broadcast on NBC, nine on the USA Network, and four on Peacock. “We’re excited to partner with the USFL and Fox Sports to present this new era of professional football,” NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said.

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What teams and coaches are in the USFL?

The teams involved in the newly formed USFL are the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, Tampa Bay Bandits, Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers.

Four of the league’s head coaches have been announced by Fox Sports:

  • Mike Riley—New Jersey Generals

  • Todd Haley—Tampa Bay Bandits

  • Kevin Sumlin—Houston Gamblers

  • Bart Andrus—Philadelphia Stars

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Woods said that attracting such top coaches including two former NFL head coaches “speaks to the quality of the league we’re building.”

Why did the first USFL end before the 1986 season?

The original USFL came about thanks to ideas conceived by David Dixon, a businessman who set forth the concept in 1965. The league didn’t start fielding teams until 1983. Some top football players, including Herschel Walker, started off playing for the USFL and went on to great NFL success.

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A major catalyst for ending the USFL before the 1986 season was a vote to shift from a spring schedule to a fall schedule, which conflicted with the NFL. Former President Donald Trump, who was then the majority owner of the New Jersey Generals, worked with other USFL owners to attempt to force a merger between the USFL and the NFL.

In an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, the USFL was awarded just $1, but the victory was hollow for the USFL. The league lost about $136 million through the legal proceedings and was forced to dissolve.

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