Last year, it was revealed that the United States Football League (USFL) would be retuning in 2022 on FOX. Since then, we’ve learned a lot more about the league, not on is FOX a broadcast partner, but their also a majority owner.
Additionally, the USFL has signed a multi-year media-rights deal with NBC which will see every game of the 2022 season televised. The league is also coming in strong on the executive side, bringing in Brian Woods (TSL) as President of Football Ops, Daryl Johnston as EVP Football Ops and Mike Pereira as Head of Officiating. Needless to say, the USFL means business.
Last October, reports that circulating that the league was in talks with representative from the city of Birmingham, Al to host all eight teams in 2022. These reports also gave us a lot of insight into the leagues plans. That’s when we learned of the April kickoff, the potential deal with NBC and that the league would use Protective Stadium and Legion Field.
Although the USFL has been on a major marketing push since the end of 2021, the central location had yet to be made official. Well, that is until today.
The league held a media event at Protective Stadium, where they officially announced that Birmingham will indeed be home of the USFL in 2022.
Shortly before the announcement, tickets went on sale for the inaugural game between the Birmingham Stallions and New Jersey Generals. This is just one day after the event details appeared on Ticketmaster, and the tickets and very affordable. Seating is general admission and each ticket is only $10.
The event was set to kickoff at 11:30am ET, but was delayed 30 minutes. In the meantime, Protective Stadium put out a Tweet making the news we’ve heard so much about over the past few months official.
The first few minutes of the event weren’t streamed, but that was quickly remedied after not too long.
Eric Shanks was the first speaker to hit the stage for the league. He spoke about how the city of Birmingham “celebrates their passion” for the game of football. This is when he officially announced that Birmingham would serve as the leagues headquarters for the 2022 season.
We knew that Birmingham would serve as the central hub He thanked the mayor, city council and everyone involved helping making this a reality.
Edward Hartman and Brian Woods were also in attendance, getting a mention from the announcer.
Next up was the Mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin. He went into detail on how happy he is to see the USFL in his city. He also touched on how Birmingham is a sports city at heart, and now they have the opportunity to showcase it.
He then welcomed up the City Council, where the President spoke in detail on her love for sports. Overall, she was very optimistic about the relationship with the league and thanks everyone that worked together in this collaborative effort. She ended it off by saying “Welcome to the Magic City”.
Jerry Stephens came up and told the room about the great effort that was put into this deal. He said it’s rare that you can get that many people in a room and ultimately agree on something. He went and thanked a handful of his associates in the room, showing the magnitude of work that was put into this deal. He ended by saying “If you build it they will come. Well, we built it and here you are”.
State Senator Jabo Sweeny was next up. He’s been in associated in local politics for many years and said this has been a long time coming. He said that last night was one of the highlights of his life, as he got to spend dinner with VPO of FOX Sports. He also spoke about getting a chance to meet Daryl Johnston, who he admired as a Cowboys player, as well as Reggie Bush.
He then welcomed up his partner in the senate, Rodger Smitherman. He came up commended everyone that had a hand in putting this deal together. He also thanks FOX Sports for their patience in their process, and even stated that this deal was theirs’s to lose. He also touched on the amazing exposure that Birmingham will see from all of the USFL broadcasts. Smitherman leaned on his community to embrace the USFL in Birmingham.
The host, JJ, came back on stage to welcome the final speaker. After a brief introduction the head coach of the Birmingham Stallions, Skip Holtz, joined the stage.
He joked that the introduction may be longer than his speech, but he’s still in good spirits. Holtz started out by saying that there’s three things going on today, an amazing announcement on the re-emergence of the USFL. The second was the excitement in Birmingham, which will be hosting the league and will be showcased on major broadcast partners. The last major item up his sleeve was that the Birmingham Stallions were back. He ended it with another joke saying Reggie Bush would be coming to play for the team.
JJ came back to wrap up the event and closed things out welcoming the USFL to Birmingham and announcing tickets were on sale.
All in all, this was a great event for the USFL, and they definitely got their point across. They mean business. With the central hub officially set, we’re on to learn the last two head coaches.
What did you think of the big USFL media event? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.