UFL: the next "other league" failure?

Cuban will likely pull his best Trump impersonation

A report from ESPN.com last night indicates that current Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one major name involved in the potential start-up of a new professional football league. The league, at this very early point, is planning on calling itself the UFL and would ideally consist of eight teams. The idea was not Cuban's, however; Wall Street investor Bill Hambrecht conceived the league, and not ironically was an investor in the Oakland Invaders of the infamous USFL. Cuban is involved as a potential owner of one of the eight clubs. Here's what Cuban wrote on his blog about the proposal:

The NFL wants and needs competition. They have grown so big and powerful that every move they make is scrutinized by local or federal officials. A competitor allows them to point to us and explain that their moves are for competitive reasons rather than the move of a monopoly.

A case can be made for needing competition, but Cuban should realize that up to this point, competitive leagues have not worked. The AFL forced a merger with the NFL; the WFL and USFL went defunct; the XFL was one of the more colossal flops in professional sports history. Only the CFL and the Arena Football League survived, and it's because they don't try to directly compete with the NFL. I just don't see a new attempt working this time either.

This has direct ties to the Bills and their future in Buffalo as well. Directly from Cuban's blog again:

They just extended their CBA. Their CBA structure is not designed for a competitive environment. Competition for top players, even if the UFL gets just a few, increases prices at the top end for all teams. Every star will get paid more, but still have to fit under the cap. That forces teams to use more low cost players, at the expense of signing the middle of the roster. That gives us access to quite a few very, very good NFL players. The downside is that it will significantly impact small market NFL teams and its unclear how the NFL would respond to that and what the impact would be on the UFL.

The idea here is that driving elite players out of the NFL would allow only big-market NFL clubs to compete with UFL clubs for these elite players' services. This would leave smaller-revenue clubs like the Bills with virtually no chance of landing elite talent. Hence why I hope that this league doesn't come close to materializing. Yes, folks - I am very against this. In no way do I believe the NFL needs competition, nor money-hungry owners sucking the life out of the most functional professional sport around. There are already two "other" professional football leagues, and adding a third one to take on the big, bad bully of the NFL likely won't work.

Does anyone have anything they'd like to share about this developing story?

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