Mark Cuban: NFL Work Stoppage Would Be 'Huge Plus' for UFL
Cuban is licking his chops, tweeting about the UFL weekly.
He believes the presence of the UFL -- and what it could do -- will factor into the stalled, NFL labor/management negotiations that likely will lead to a lockout/work stoppage next fall.
"A work stoppage (in the NFL) would be a huge plus for the UFL. There will be a lot of great players with bills to pay and the UFL will be there to hire them,'' Cuban told FanHouse during an e-mail exchange earlier this week. "There will be millions of fans going through withdrawals. The UFL will be there to make them very, very happy.''
Cuban has been the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA since 2000, orchestrating a franchise turnaround that has become a model in professional sports. He has done it by spending big money and doing everything first class, trumpeting fan/franchise interaction, a perfect fit for his outgoing, energetic nature and an eager market.
Earlier this year, his $600 million bid to buy Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers narrowly fell short. He previously tried to buy the Chicago Cubs.
A lifelong football fan, Cuban got involved in the UFL earlier this year because he loved its potential , believing it could survive and thrive even when previous attempts for upstart football leagues have failed.
The UFL, now in its second year, has five teams -- playing in Orlando, Omaha, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Hartford. They are in the midst of an eight-game regular season that will culminate with a championship game at the end of November.
Most of the rosters are at least half filled with varying degrees of NFL experience, from stars like Daunte Culpepper and Jeff Garcia to players who spent limited time in NFL training camps.
More than 50 UFL players were signed by the NFL after last season ended. An average player in the UFL only makes an estimated $55,000, paid over the eight games. The starting quarterbacks make an estimated $200,000. Cuban is part of the league ownership, which controls at least 51 percent of each team.
He also owns HDNet, the world's only all high-definition national television network, which televises the UFL games.
"The fact that the UFL will be there to give NFL players jobs could easily change the dynamics of the negotiations,'' Cuban said.
Although the NFL has no financial stake in the UFL, it has provided some encouragement because the UFL has served as a useful farm system for both veterans and young players coming out of college. The nuances of the current NFL collective bargaining agreement -- under the salary cap -- discourages teams from keeping role playing veterans because it drives up the cost of business. Yet it also provides the UFL with plenty of good, experienced players. That relationship between the NFL and UFL could change if Cuban's predictions come true.
When asked if he could ever foresee a day when the UFL competed for players with the NFL, his answer was interesting.
"Ever? Yes. In the next seven years or so, No. I think both can co-exist for a long time. The demand for football so far is satiable,'' he said.
Cuban has earned his reputation as a Maverick, often disrupting the status quo in the NBA, prompting the league to look at things differently. He and the UFL might do the same with the NFL.
Click below to watch Cuban discuss his hopes for the UFL: