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Muscle Sport Magazine

UFL Needs to Promote League More to Succeed

The United Football League has been playing games for five weeks now in their inaugural season and unless you’re a die-hard gridiron fan, you would be hard pressed to even know that they are in existence. As far as the Tri-State area goes, nary a mention has been made of the league itself or the local team, the New York Sentinels.

The only noticeable advertisement came in the form of  billboard along the New Jersey Turnpike near Giants Stadium, the location of the Sentinels’ first home game. On that Thursday evening at the end of October, the California Redwoods came into town and kept New York winless by taking a close contest, 20-13. The attendance was light and appeared even more so because of the capacity of the stadium. And it didn’t help matters any that the game was up against the second installment of the World Series in the Bronx.

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But with more promotion, football fans who are shut out from Giants or Jets games would probably be more than happy to take advantage of the very affordable $20 tickets the UFL is offering. Couple that with the familiar names that adorn the rosters of the four teams and this thing may be a viable alternative during the week to the NFL.

“We had some guys here, like Simeon Rice, who had some injuries and are just looking to come back to play,” said Sentinels head coach Ted Cotrell, a former defensive coordinator for a number of teams including the New York Jets. “There are a few players like that and there are players coming up that just need a chance. It’s a win-win thing. If they do well, then we do well.”

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Sounds like a good plan but for that to come true, the UFL has to get its name out there more. With the three other teams employing head coaches like Dennis Green (California Redwoods), Jim Fassel (Las Vegas Locomotives) and Jim Haslett (Florida Tuskers), instant credibility is brought to the table. Plus they have a television deal with Versus and HDNet, so the coverage is there if the fans choose to tune in.

In any situation where a new product is released, there will be trial and error periods. Such is the case when the Sentinels changed the location of their next home game from Citi Field (the Mets new ballpark in Queens) to Hofstra University on Long Island. A much smaller venue is more appropriate in a town like New York where it is very difficult to catch on when you have to deal with the likes of the Giants and Yankees garnering all of the headlines.

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A short eight-week schedule commencing with the UFL championship game on November 27 will wrap up a campaign that the UFL can hopefully build on. They intend on adding teams and games in 2010 but need the capital to do so.

Other football leagues have had a difficult time surviving in what has become an NFL-monopolized sport. The WFL, USFL, AFL, XFL, WLAF and NFL Europe all dot the landscape of failed attempts to at least share a piece of the pigskin pie. Hopefully the UFL can stay off of that list.

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