The New York Times Sports Magazine Breaks United Football League Story

The New York Times Sports Magazine reports in its June 3 issue that Wall
Streeter Bill Hambrecht and Google executive Tim Armstrong are launching a
professional football league to compete with the N.F.L., and have lined up
billionaire Mark Cuban as their first team owner.

In an exclusive column, Joe Nocera writes that the new United Football
League aims to line up seven more owners

“with Cuban

’s deep pockets and contrarian mindset

so that it can debut with eight teams. Right now, the league is scheduled to
play its first pre-season games in August, 2008.

Cuban owns the N.B.A.

’s Dallas Mavericks. Undaunted
by the monopolistic N.F.L., which has squashed four competitors, he tells

“There are quite a few good-sized non-N.F.L.
cities that can support a pro team.

” So far, the league
has picked

Los Angeles,

Vegas and

Mexico City.

San Antonio and

Orlando are among other top markets without
N.F.L. teams.

According to U.F.L. executives, Nocera reports, the new league will emulate
the old American Football League

– one of whose major
characteristics was revenue sharing. Each owner will put up $30 million, worth
a half-interest in a team; the league will own the other half. Eventually, the
plan envisions that fans will become stakeholders

because each team will sell shares to the public to raise an average of $60
million per franchise. Public ownership will reduce the pricing pressure on the
teams, resulting in cheaper tickets all around.

Officials are convinced they can land decent players from the get-go, and
better players later on.

“The U.F.L. will be able to
offer most rookies, who aren

’t top draft choices, far
more money than the N.F.L. would give them,

” Nocera
Joe Nocera’s Column

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