Earlier this week USFL EVP Business Operations Edward Hartman joined OutKick 360 from Super Bowl Radio Row to discuss the upcoming USFL season. During the interview we heard a range of topics discussed, mainly going over items that we already knew. Regardless, these events are about expanding the brand reach and creating awareness to the everyday football fan.
Today, OutKick 360 hosted Mike Mulvihill (EVP Strategy & Analytics – FOX Sports) to go over various topics. It wasn’t necessarily expected, but definitely welcomed when the group brought up the USFL.
The OutKick 360 hosts started things about asking how FOX decided on when to launch the league. Also touching on if the network is looking at the shift in how fans consume content, expecting that football fans are ready to watch the sport year-round.
Yes, we absolutely do. We put some care into that decision of when to launch the league. What’s the right part of the calendar to launch the league. The XFL and AAF they chose to launch immediately after the Super Bowl. We’ve decided not to do that. We’re going to kickoff on April 16th and then our season will end July 4th weekend. I think what that allows us to do is give those 100’s of millions of Americans that have an interest in football a chance to reset.
Mulvihill went on to speak about the upcoming sports calendar, calling out the Winter Olympics, rolling into March Madness, then the Masters. He explains that they feel the timing is perfect, as they’ll have less to compete with to get the casual sports fan.
Once we get through those big tentpole events, that’s when we’ll be ready to come onto the scene.
He also touched on his confidence that the league will be able to hold up ratings-wise during their scheduled season.
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.
He responded in his own way, brining up some of the great opportunities for the league in their partnership with NBC.
I think what’s more important is 24 of the 43 games that are going to be played in this inaugural USFL season will be on either FOX or NBC. Rather than having to find them on cable or looking for them on a streaming platform… Yes, some of them 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, NASCAR, the Olympics, all the biggest events in sports.
He mentioned that it’s always important to make it easy, saying “easy always wins”. It’s a priority to him and his team to make the games easy to find and among big name sports brands.
Ending out the interview Mulvihill ended things out with some promising words about the new league.
It’s going to be around for a while. We look forward to season two and beyond.
Everything seems to be in place for us to see something we haven’t seen in a long time; a second spring football season. It’s great to see the league gearing up to the launch, and putting effort in expanding the brand reach.
As we move closer to the season we expect to see the marketing machine really start to grow. This weekend there’s going to be a lot of eyes on the Super Bowl, and with NBC in such a close relationship with the new USFL, we think it’s likely we’ll get a mention. At the time of publication, it’s expected that the Super Bowl is going to bring in over 100M viewers. That’s a lot of potential USFL fans if you ask me.
Do you think the USFL will get a mention during the Super Bowl this Sunday? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.