I have never seen as many empty seats ever.
They don’t care about attendance. If they did the entire season wouldn’t be played in Birmingham. All they want is TV eyeballs. That will decide if the league succeeds.
The tickets are ten bucks and kids free, still nobody there. I doubt if they can expect much of a TV audience either.
And if they don’t get TV viewers the league will fail. Which is probably the case. Spring football has failed before.
But I wouldn’t expect a lot of people to pay $10 to see “Houston” vs. “Michigan” played in Alabama. They know that.
I wish them luck actually. Just don’t see much seccess for them.
I really hope they make it. I enjoyed the original league. It’s refreshing to see players playing for the love of the game. I enjoyed the premiere game which was pretty good for the time they had to prepare. With money taking over every aspect of sports at the expense of the fans, I’m going to enjoy these games!
The St. Louis franchise of the most recent version of the XFL, was getting very good support, until Covid killed the league.
I don’t really get the point of playing games without many fans. I know they save on travel costs and other expenditures (like stadium rentals), but why would people want to watch on TV when all they see is empty seats?
Crowds create the festive atmospheres at games. If I turn on a game and nobody’s there, why would I want to watch? It makes it look like everyone else has something better to do, and maybe I should find something else too.
It’s an interesting experiment, but in the end I suspect it will have the same outcome as many other spring leagues.
I bet the entire state of New Jersey was glued to their seats, watching " their" Generals take on the hated Birmingham Stallions. Of course Birmingham’s big rival is probably either New Orleans or Tampa Bay. Since those teams are also named for cities in the Southeast.
The USFL ( as I understand it the league owns all the teams) deliberately is playing this season on the cheap to keep from bleeding out before they can prove tv viability. And let’s face it, it’s a made-for-spring tv league.
They basically gave away their tv rights for the first year to make sure every game would be on a major cable network or NBC/FOX. Now all they have to do is clear a very low bar to get to season two.
They don’t need big tv ratings to be viable, they don’t even need mediocre numbers of people watching. They are playing at a time of year when the networks are used to having low ratings and really don’t have anything to put on the air on weekends that is going to do much better over an eight to ten week period. Fox gets some inventory besides MLB and NBC/USA gets something besides golf and the triple crown.
It will be interesting to see if the gambling public starts to bet the games a bit more as the season goes along, which could also help ratings a little. Betting MLB games in the spring typically does not draw a lot of interest, and the action on the NBA playoffs is usually relatively tame, so betting on spring pro-ish football may have some appeal to bored bettors.
The key for the USFL to get to a second season is fiscal discipline and not getting delusional about the immediate future. If they can do that and get decent spring sports ratings numbers, they will have a good chance of making it to year two.
Something tells me Bama football fans will not shoot a son-in-law or poison trees over one of these games.
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