Roy S Johnson from Al.com was a recent guest on The Markcast. He was there to break down everything United States Football League (USFL) and the latest talks between the league and Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC). With games starting on Friday, April 15th, 2022.
Johnson says that Fox is looking a close this deal soon.
“Fox has said that it wants to try to reach an agreement sooner rather than later, ideally, by the end of this week, which might be a bit of a challenge.”
He also goes into detail about the broadcast agreement being discussed.
“It’s 40 games and then three playoff games. They would be broadcast on either Fox or NBC or some of their affiliated cable. This agreement actually contains the details of which networks each game would be broadcast on Fox Sports One, USA. Peacock is also mentioned. So the games would be spread out over all of these networks.”
“I believe about 30 of the 40 games, maybe a little, maybe fewer will either be on Fox or NBC. Most of the games will be broadcast on the major networks. USA six games. Peacock four games Fox Sports One maybe eight games. So there’s a balance there. “
The sticking point for their agreement to go forward is who is paying for it.
“Fox wants the Stadium use for free. They’re bringing almost 800 people here, and they’re going to fill up over 40,000 room nights, which the local convention and Visitors Bureau has projected an economic income of $15 million on the area, just based on them being in town.
So ultimately, who pays the cost? What is the cost for the USFL to do this in terms of just Stadium operations, you got to open the doors, you got to sell tickets, you got to clean it up, there’s wear and tear on the fields. So what is that cost? And then who pays for it?
The entities that will probably have to chip in include the city of Birmingham, Jefferson County, which, of course, where Birmingham exists and possibly the Convention and Visitors Bureau, because they’re going to benefit, obviously from them being here. Maybe the private sector, maybe even Protective, which is a large company here that has the naming rights for the Stadium. Maybe they’ll kick in a little bit too.”
Johnson talks about after year one of the USFL. The league would no longer be in a hub city.
“Fox Sports making an investment, and the bubble is only the first year. My understanding is that the second and third year, they will go back to a more traditional model and have teams in eight cities, including Birmingham, and they’ll have local ownership. But the franchises will still be owned by Fox. So I think they’re going to learn a lot this year. The financial model this year will be a lot different than it will be in year two and year three, because now you’re talking about having to pay to be in stadiums.”
Johnson goes into detail on the National Spring Football League and Fox, the $150 million invested in the league, and more.
Dylan Smith from Yellow Hammer reports that the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau will meet on October 21st to discuss the BJCC’s funding proposal and potentially decide on the matter. If they can’t agree, Fox could explore their Plan B location.
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