Monday, July 18, 2011

Are the UFL and the Omaha Nighthawks Done?

The National Football Post and Hartford Courant are reporting that the Hartford Colonials are experiencing financial difficulties, which is the reason why the UFL pushed back the start of training camp.  The National Football Post says that players are being sent home and that training camp would not be starting. Equipment is being held by a storage company due to unpaid bills, according to the Hartford Courier.

The Courier also is reporting tonight that the UFL is expected to make an announcement about it's future tomorrow. Does this mean the end of the league?  Hard to say. It might be possible to keep the league functioning with four teams by adjusting the schedule; only four teams play each week anyway.  But the league seemed to be pinning their hopes on the NFL not playing this fall, and that's something that's becoming increasingly unlikely.  Now, it would seem the only hope left is some sort of agreement with the NFL to act as a player development channel as well as a broadcast outlet for games.

This isn't a good thing IMHO. I thought the UFL was a better brand of football than some people give it credit for, and long term, I think it could be successful in Omaha. But the league needs to find other cities that would embrace it like Omaha has.  This is really bad news for the Omaha Nighthawks, who are scheduled to start single-game ticket sales this Friday.  They could still try to sell tickets, but might not have a league to play in, when it's time for the games to be played.

Update:  UFL Access is reporting that the season will be delayed 30 days, and the UFL will still play this season.  If that's so, that's still not so bad for the UFL.  It pushes the season back to September, and while it will conflict with the NFL and college seasons, that's something that the Nighthawks successfully dealt with last season.

Bottom line is that it doesn't matter so much how popular the Nighthawks are or how well the Omaha franchise is run... a football team cannot play by itself.  It needs to be part of a stable league, and right now, the UFL is struggling to find stability.

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