Thursday, April 30, 2009

The USPL Shuffle

Yesterday the USPL (postponed?) rescheduled the DC Challenge. Moving it to August. They also altered the overall season schedule from a mix of national and regional (eastern and western conference events) to 4 national events. The new event 2 will be a west coast event at a to be announced location on a to be announced date. (Post title is a link to the full official statement.)

Sure. Whatever. But what does it all mean? Well, since you ask, and in the interest of keeping it real I'm gonna tell you what I think it means. Once the league committed to running a tournament series in 2009 they put in motion a series of actions that include operating expenses and some of those expenses exist whether events are run or not. That's money going out, month in, month out. HB was a swell event but it didn't make any money. At this point I'm not sure that even all the owner/teams have seen a full accounting of exactly how it turned out financially. If the originally scheduled DC Challenge had gone off at a significant loss it would have been a crucial failure for the league and put them in the position of needing a capital infusion. Even so, that day is not far off. And the next national event doesn't have a location or a date. And if the WCPPL puts on another well regarded and better attended event before that west coast USPL event they will have solidified their position and will surely have siphoned off more teams that might have been USPL teams. Lastly, the league was founded on a fantasy. The fantasy that there were (and are) triple digit 7-man teams just hanging around hoping for a national 7-man league in which they can play. Any logical assessment of the year-to-year numbers generated by past NPPLs consistently showed declining participation and if you follow that up by evaluating team numbers in the handful of regional 7-man leagues you will discover similar results. The numbers of teams just weren't (and aren't) there. The USPL could be the best league ever and if there ain't nobody to play it can't succeed.

One final thought: If the league's incorporation papers allow disparate percentages of ownership--which would allow some of the teams to put more money in for a larger piece of the pie--it might keep the league afloat awhile longer but it would also mean the league would very soon end up being another PSP.

Trust me, I'm not thrilled being Mr. Black Cloud instead of Mr. Silver Lining. And I'm always up to compete whatever the format. So go ahead and take pot shots at the messenger if you like. I understand. Sometimes it's hard always being right.

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