Spring league starts its second season

Darius Victor, Runningback

Wikimedia Commons

Darius Victor, Runningback

The United States Football League is a spring football league that started in 1983. It played 3 seasons in 1983, 1984, and 1985. The USFL underestimated the juggernaut league of the NFL, and the USFL soon crumbled. After a lawsuit and almost 40 years without playing a single snap, the USFL returned in 2022.

The United States Football League started its second stint in 2022, and had a successful year. The league owners decided last year that the league is “here to stay” in the spring. Knowing that they won’t be able to compete with the NFL, the league decided to play its games in the spring, as it did in its first stint in 1983. The league was able to grow an audience with captivating and exciting games last year, so there was anticipation for the second season.

The USFL being a spring league has many benefits, but also a couple of drawbacks. Since the NFL season had just ended when the USFL season began, people can’t help but make comparisons. The USFL, or any other football league does not compare to the NFL’s quality of play and entertainment. Many people are satisfied with just watching the NFL, and people are going to choose the most entertaining league no matter what. What the USFL has in mind is capitalizing on the fact that people still want to watch more football, even after the NFL season is over.

The USFL also has to compete with the NBA playoffs. Many people who watch football also watch basketball, and attention may be grabbed away from the USFL by the playoffs. The NBA playoffs have also been the most watched in the history of the NBA. The first week of the playoffs averaged 4,280,000 viewers. The viewership has also increased even more because the Lakers are not only in the playoffs, but they have made it all the way to the conference finals. The Lakers have the largest fan base of any team in the NBA, so the NBA is seeing even higher playoff viewership than usual. 

The USFL also has to
compete with the NBA playoffs.

So is it working? USFL viewership in week 1 amassed 3.1 million viewers across multiple networks. The first week of the season is always more viewed than any others (except for the playoffs), so this number is not an accurate representation of what the USFL gets weekly for viewership. The viewership dropped from 3.1 million viewers the first week to just 1.9 million the second week. 1.9 million viewers in the second week is a solid number, and it is more reflective of what the USFL will bring in weekly. If they can continue to establish a consistent fanbase, the USFL will be able to stay afloat despite the challenges. 

The USFL is not trying to become the NFL, or even compete with them right now as it stands. They are just trying to capitalize on peoples’ love for football and give them another option to watch. It will be a long time before any league comes close to competing with the NFL, if it ever happens at all. But football fans are happy that they have another good quality option to watch.