UFL Expansion Seemingly Not On The Table For 2025

UFL Expansion Seemingly Not On The Table For 2025

With the inaugural season of the UFL now complete, many are shifting their focus to what lies ahead for the league. Aside from the pipeline of players heading from the UFL to the NFL, there have been rumors circulating for months now regarding potential expansion in 2025.

Originally, when the USFL and XFL merged, they cut eight franchises. This left us with only eight teams, after having 16 spring football franchises in the United States in 2023.

UFL Expansion: Not Happening?

While the early word in 2024 pointed towards the direction of UFL expansion and/or relocation in 2025, it appears like that window has closed; at least for now. According to FOX Sports writer Eric Williams, things will move forward next year with a similar format:

“While there was talk of expansion, Year 2 will feature all eight teams returning to their home markets as the league works to refine things during the offseason and build a better product in 2025.”

For the sake of sustainability, this move makes the most sense. UFL VP of Football Operations, Daryl Johnston, told Eric Williams “We are going to be able to dial into the details…We’re going to have a traditional offseason calendar where we can be ahead of the curve instead of being in a position where we have to chase it a little bit.”

The good news is that it appears the UFL was able to sort things out with the requirements from the government. Multiple sources indicated to Pro Football Newsroom that the league was granted the ability to move forward with only eight teams in 2024, under the notion that 2025 would feature at least a couple of teams coming back. Assumably, this eight team “grace period” has been extended for another season.

While we all want to see some of our favorite teams return, it is best for the league to stick with eight for now. Spring football desperately needs an offseason where things remain the same, without any major changes.

Moving Towards 2025

The UFL simply needs to focus on engaging all eight of their markets the right way, now that the merger is behind them. Certain cities underperformed from an attendance standpoint, partially due to the chaos that went on behind the scenes as the USFL and XFL came together. For Daryl Johnston, the keys this offseason will be to establishing trust in those markets:

“With our home markets, we’ve got to build that trust there — that we’re not going to leave or [that] the league isn’t going to fold…We’ve got a couple cities that historically have been a part of spring football, they’ve committed to a team and that team has left. We’ve still got some trust to build in our home markets.”

Even though some might recommend relocating a couple of teams to stronger potential markets, it makes more sense to give every city a chance to truly establish themselves this offseason. It’s a necessary step in order for spring football to survive long-term.

In addition, the league can continue to build upon their strong TV Ratings from 2024. The UFL averaged 832,000 viewers per broadcast this year, up from the 619,000 that the USFL and XFL respectively averaged while separate in 2023.

The UFL has a ton of positives to look back on from the 2024 season. At the same time, there is always room for improvement, and the executives are well aware of those areas.

As the journey begins towards what should be an even more successful 2025 campaign, the UFL is making the right decision early, by not jumping the gun with expansion. We all want spring football to last, and it starts with staying consistent from year to year.

What are your thoughts on the UFL and their plans to keep things similar in 2025? Did you want to see expansion next year? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

Fubo
  1. James,

    The full viewership with 3 playoff games was 850k (or 854k ie rounding). During the regular season it was 816k.
    For the full year UFL viewership was up from USFL/XFL 2023 full year (~633k avg) a solid 34%.

    One question for 2025 will be the Friday night games. If these are neutral or up over 2024 – great – if not the UFL and Fox will need to relook.

    I like keeping it steady for 2025 and with gearing up for 2026 in mind. Look for WB-D (TNT) to be a potential partner in 2026 as they lose the NBA (imo).

    Getting more fans in stands in important, but getting more local fans watching on TV and getting interested will have a bigger impact.

    Great job this year for the UFL and yourself with your coverage and reporting.

    On to 2025!

  2. I think that is perfectly fine for a couple years but think adding four new teams to the league and then taking two for each conference. You can split the conference into two divisions and still do the 10 game season. So 6 teams for a conference and then 3 for division. For playoffs 3 teams make it with top team getting a bye that first weekend. So added just one additional game then what it is now. After years maybe an additional 4 teams could be added but I would think 16 total is all you would do. UFL is great though and I see a bright future. Awesome to see guys get that opportunity to showcase their abilities and have a new shot at the NFL.

  3. Very wise thing to stand pat this off-season.
    Let the league gain traction before rushing into expansion.

  4. ST. Louis it’s crazy about our Battlehawks (Kakaw!). I have to believe that there are other, often overlooked, midsized cities like St. Louis, who would be ripe for a UFL expansion team. I’m thinking: Louisville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Charleston (WV or SC), Raleigh-Durham, Orlando, and many others. Who is working to expand the UFL to these markets?

  5. The UFL was hit with me. I hope they become a successful sustainable spring football league.

  6. Spring football is here to stay. The question is how successful will it become? Bringing in franchise owners is the next big hurdle. Good luck UFL!! ……Put the Roughnecks in the old Astrodome, (somehow) and attendance will be tops in the league.

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