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The United States Football League is making a comeback.
“The relaunch of the USFL is a landmark day for football fans and Fox Sports,” said Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer for Fox Sports, in a statement. “Football is in our DNA and the return of this innovative and iconic league is a fantastic addition to our robust slate of football programming.”
The football league, which was originally active from 1983 to 1985, counted future NFL stars Doug Flutie and Herschel Walker among its players. Its teams included the Chicago Blitz, Washington Federals and Los Angeles Express. It also included the New Jersey Generals, which counted Donald Trump as an owner.
The new incarnation will have “at least” eight teams, and the league retains the rights to the original team names.
The USFL will return to an increasingly crowded football landscape. It will not compete with the NFL, which remains unopposed in the fall and winter months. However actor Dwayne Johnson and his partners Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital last year acquired the remnants of the XFL, with plans to relaunch in 2022. More recently, the XFL was reportedly holding talks with the Canadian Football League.
The deal also underscores the importance of live sports to networks like Fox, and the willingness to do outside-the-box deals to secure increasingly sparse live rights.
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