Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Are You Ready For Some...
More B-Grade Football??

I need to start here at the top by saying that I like Mark Cuban.

While I fully realize that the outspoken billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks can rub many people the wrong way...often on an hourly basis...I have a great deal of respect for him.

I don’t always agree with everything he says. But I like him.

Sure, he's got an ego, and yes, he can be rather eccentric. But did I mention he's a freaking billionaire?? Self-made? That's more money than Dudley Moore's character in Arthur was going to give up to spend the rest of his life with Liza Minnelli's character. (however, that's back when Liza was kind of attractive and had some spunk...not the total wack-job Liza of today.) Let's put a billion dollars in your pocket and see if you don't become even slightly affected by your new change in lifestyle.
If you're going to laugh, I'm taking my ball--and my billions--and going home. Nyah!!
With that being said, I think he’s flipped his lid. (Cuban....not Arthur.) (Can you tell in the photo on the right how distraught he is at my opinion of him?)

Cuban is part of a group that is trying to build a football league that would rival the NFL. The United Football League, still in its earliest stages of development, is trying to field teams in eight cities that have no NFL franchises, and Cuban has already signed on to become a team owner.

The UFL would play its games on Friday nights, so as not to conflict with the NFL schedule, and the founders are counting on the league being profitable after five years.

The initial investment per team is only $30 million, a mere pittance for someone who has more money than all the countries in the southern hemisphere combined. So I don’t fault Cuban for throwing some money out there to give this thing a go.

And with his fresh-thinking perspective, he could help to make the UFL a more substantial alternative to the NFL than some of its previous competitors, such as the United States Football League, the World Football League, and the XFL, none of which lasted longer than three seasons. The XFL lasted just three months.

But the way he’s marketing his new business venture to the media is what makes me think he should stick to dot-coms for fortune building, and basketball teams for recreation.

Cuban told the Associated Press that it was a pretty simple concept. “We think there is more demand for pro football than supply,” he said.

That part makes sense. Many people I know are football junkies, and more football would be a wonderful thing. More N...F...L football, if you please. I didn’t watch more than five minutes of the XFL after it was created before seeing that the only similarities it shared with the NFL were that the players wore shoulder pads and helmets and the ball was brown and oblong. End of story. End of new football league.

The UFL is being founded by investment banker Bill Hambrecht and Google Inc. executive Tim Armstrong, who have each pledged $2 million to start the league.

OK, so that gives it a little bit more respectability, because it seems that everything related in any way to Google turns to gold. Throw in an eccentric but über-intelligent businessman like Cuban, and you almost want to cheer a little for the league to get its feet under it and have a chance.

Cuban goes a little overboard on his blog when he talks about the fledgling new football league, saying, “There is obviously demand for top-level professional football. That is exactly what the UFL hopes to be someday, an equal to the NFL, if not more.”

If not more, he says.

I applaud his grit and determination, but that’s like me saying that I hope to be as rich as Mark Cuban someday, if not richer.

The league currently has no other prospective team owners, and if it does get off the ground, I don’t see it ever reaching it’s magical five-year anniversary.

But maybe I’ll buy a hat with Cuban’s team logo on it, if I can find one, to show my support.

I’ll wear it under my Detroit Lions hat.

“Football combines the two
worst features of American life.
It is violence punctuated by
committee meetings.”
—George F. Will

1 comment:

  1. What a huge undertaking. I just can't see how it will ever get it's feet on the ground.

    It's not the NFL. End of story.