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Fox Sports EVP Mike Mulvihill Talks Why The USFL Choose April Start, Competition From Other Sports & More

Mike Mulvihill is the Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Analytics. He is responsible for scheduling, strategic planning, Nielsen ratings analysis and advertising sales and communications support within FOX Sports. He was a recent guest on the Outkick 360 show. The show was on location at the Super Bowl, he was there to talk NFL data and Nielsen ratings but also about the USFL.

Mulvihill talks about the decision to launch the USFL in the spring. Both XFL and AAF decided to launch their leagues right after the Super Bowl in February.

“The XFL and the AAF, they chose to launch immediately after the Super Bowl. We’ve decided not to do that. We’re going to kick off on April 16, and then our season will end on July 4 weekend.

I think what that allows us to do is give those hundreds of millions of Americans who have an interest in football just a chance to reset.

You think about what’s on the sports calendar in the next couple of months after we get through this Super Bowl. Obviously, the Winter Olympics are going to run for another week and in the blink of an eye will be in March Madness, and that will take up the attention of the casual sports fan. And then it’s Masters weekend.

Then once we get through those big tent pole events, that’s when we’ll be ready to come onto the scene. And I think we’re going to be able to take advantage of what I frankly think is sort of the soft underbelly of the American sports calendar.”

He talks about the USFL’s competition in the spring and how he feels the USFL will do.

“Certainly, there’s NBA playoffs there, but those games will mostly run in prime time. We won’t have to compete with that head to head.

I think the USFL can really hold its own up against properties that are staples of the second quarter of the year, whether that’s the Premier League, Major League Soccer, PGA events, the NHL playoffs.

I think we’re going to be very competitive with those events, and part of the reason why is that we’re going to give football fans the chance to take a break, reset, enjoy some of the biggest events from other sports, and then hopefully be ready for us.”

Mulvihill then talks about the impact of the Fox and NBC simulcast on opening weekend April 16th and its impact on the league overall.

“It’s an incredibly rare thing in sports to have this level of collaboration and cooperation. I think we’re going to do a really nice number for that opening game.

I think what’s more important than that is that 24 of the 43 games that are played in this inaugural USFL season will be on either Fox or NBC. So rather than having to find them on cable or looking for them on a streaming platform … some of the games will be on cable, a few will be on Peacock.

But for the most part, people are going to be able to find these games on the same networks where they’re used to, seeing the NFL, College football, NASCAR, the Olympics, all the biggest events in sports.

I’m a big believer, a very big believer that if you go back over 70 years of television history, what you find is that easy always wins. Anything we do that makes television more complicated always fails.

Anything that we can do to make it easy for the consumer and easy for the sports fan always succeeds.

So it’s a very high priority for us to make sure that these games are on the biggest platforms, that they’re surrounded by the biggest events in sports, and that they’re in places where people just know where to find.”

The segment finishes with optimism from Mulvihill on a season two and beyond for the USFL.

“Guys love to come back in July and talk about our successful first season of the USFL hear what you like or what you didn’t like and start getting us ready for year two because this is going to be around for a while so we look forward to the first season and beyond.”

The USFL is set to kick-off on April 16th when the New Jersey Generals take on the Birmingham Stallions. Stay tuned to XFL News Hub for all the breaking USFL News.

Be sure to join Alt Football Reddit and connect with other XFL and alt football fans.

Mark is the founder and editor of XFL News Hub. The site was started in January of 2018, within days of the announced return of the XFL. Contact him directly by emailing mark.perry@xflnewshub.com

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