With the USFL 2022 season now fully in the rearview mirror, the focus now shifts to 2023 – and beyond. The league will have to consider which cities to expand into. New Orleans, host of the New Orleans Breakers, would be a solid choice with the organization’s slow growth model.
In this article, we’ll be looking at a few reasons as to why New Orleans is a city the USFL should head to in the south first, before others. We know that the league will have 2-4 hubs in 2023, and may expand to all eight cities in 2024.
However, there are no guarantees. It may not be until 2025 when the USFL has franchises in each city. Only time will tell. Plus, a hub has to be placed in the North first, before expansion elsewhere. With that in mind, the Big Easy is an excellent destination, if a four hub model is put in place.
First and foremost, we have to address the elephant in the room. The XFL and the USFL both have franchises in Houston, as of right now.
Whether or not the USFL expands to four hubs in 2023 or 2024, New Orleans should be the place to go in the south. With the XFL heading into that Houston market, the Breakers could find a passionate fanbase in New Orleans.
Eventually, both leagues will likely be playing in Houston. Whether or not they will compete with each other for a fanbase remains to be seen. In the grand scheme of things, however, avoiding direct competition by settling in New Orleans first would make sense.
Impressive TV Showing
Not to mention, New Orleans was a prime market for the USFL in 2022. Outside of Birmingham, no city in the entire country performed better when it comes to TV ratings. Fans in New Orleans are clearly hungry for more football, tuning into the USFL much more than those in the Houston area did.
The league has a golden opportunity to capitalize on Yulman Stadium, which holds about 30,000 people. This would be an ideal size for a USFL team, as proper marketing could lead to a great crowd for TV.
Currently, the stadium is only used for the CFB season. The door for spring football at Yulman is wide open, and the USFL could take advantage of just that.
In addition, there is a practice field/facility right next to the stadium. With its size, complete setup, and availability, Yulman would be a perfect fit for the USFL.
There are a couple of other potential options as well, if Yulman doesn’t work out. Of course, The Dome exists. However, a stadium of that size might be the wrong move. We remember what MetLife looked like for the XFL in 2020. For now, NFL stadiums are logistically a tier above alternative leagues needs.
The Shrine is also available, but only hosts around 10,000 people right now, and has been traditionally used as a baseball field. That being said, the city does plan on upgrading the stadium to seat about 20,000 people, and convert it to a football/soccer field. If this happens at some point in the near future, The Shrine could be a viable choice for the New Orleans Breakers.
At the end of the day, the USFL does have a few decent choices to pick from. While Yulman is perfect, the city offers quite a bit to the league when it comes to stadium potential. Credit to “breakersnation.insider” for his outstanding breakdowns of New Orleans and their stadiums.
Solid Football Program
Another factor to consider is the program Larry Fedora is running with the team. In 2022, the Breakers performed quite well, albeit falling short of their Championship goals.
Of course, things weren’t perfect for the team. There are holes to fill, and plenty to improve upon in 2023. We don’t know if Kyle Sloter will return, and a few have gone on to play with NFL teams since the season’s end.
All of that aside, the foundation has been set for a winning football organization in New Orleans. Fans are hungry for a Championship caliber football program, and that’s exactly what the Breakers are.
Generally speaking, New Orleans provides a lot to the USFL. Of course, FOX saw the potential in the city before launching in 2022, which is why New Orleans was given a franchise.
The sooner the USFL drops down in New Orleans, the better. The Breakers have a lot going for them, and certainly could attract large crowds. Simply based off of how impressive New Orleans’ TV numbers were in 2022, expect them to be even stronger heading into next year.