Sports on TV: A look at how the new USFL might survive (and how the old one perished)

Sports on TV: A look at how the new USFL might survive (and how the old one perished)

The United States Football League has long served as a textbook lesson how to lose a lot of money very quickly in sports.

The league played in the springtime from 1983-85, and then fizzled out with almost $400 million in losses (in today’s dollars) after a desperate but ultimately foolish bid to challenge the NFL by playing a fall schedule beginning in 1986.

It never got to the fall. It got to a courtroom and won a Pyrrhic antitrust victory over the NFL before being relegated to 1980s pop culture nostalgia status alongside the Rubik’s Cube, parachute pants, Teddy Ruxpin and Miami Vice.

Now, the USFL is back. Or at least the name is. The Fox network last week announced it would air a scaled-down USFL 2.0 starting in 2022 as a springtime developmental football league majority owned and operated by a third party.

(See our USFL 2.

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