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Will Birmingham play in the New United States Football League?

August 13, 2008
     New United States Football League logo
The New United States Football League announces it will kick off on February 20, 2010 with 12 teams. While Birmingham was not specifically mentioned, the press release says a team will be located in the state of Alabama. Joining the team from Alabama will be teams in California, Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Utah, and New York.

The New USFL is the creation of Michael Dwyer, a Southern California businessman and former casino manager.

There will be a 16 game season that will run from February through June. There are no plans for pre-season games. The USFL Championship Game will be played at the end of June. This time was chosen to fill the void when no other major football league is playing.

Tom Shapiro, the New USFL's commissioner, provided more details. "Americans love football - it's a fact that's been proven year after year. We've worked long and hard to develop a winning league concept that Americans can really buy into. In fact, 30% of each team will be sold to the public in stocks, with an additional 20% of each team held by the league. We think this will help create fan loyalty and discourage teams from moving around," Shapiro said.

February 15, 2012
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EndZone Sports Management, a San Diego based sports company, announces it has acquired The United States Football League, LLC. EndZone Sports Management is slated to announce the locations of the USFL teams in the Summer, and plans to kick off the USFL season in the Spring of 2013.

“You can't deny the impact the USFL made on the football landscape even with its brief history. It gave us great players like Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Sam Mills and so many others. We are excited to have the opportunity to build on that history and re-launch the league as a professional football league that plays in the spring, giving fans more football and giving talented athletes a platform from which to perform,” said president and chief executive officer, Jaime Cuadra.

Plans are to have eight teams and a planned a 14 game season with four teams making the playoffs. It will commence in March and end with the playoffs in June, so that players may be prepared if invited to National Football League training camps. Expansion teams would be planned for 2014.

There will be no mandates where team owners/operators locate their teams, but the league is expecting to have a nationwide footprint. Desired locations include teams near hubs of collegiate football and in markets that do not have strong professional sports competition in the spring. Cuadra is looking at the likes of Akron, Portland, San Jose, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Austin, Memphis, Raleigh-Durham, Omaha, Baton Rouge, and Birmingham. “We’re staying away from NFL cities and avoiding Major League Baseball cities. We’re looking at cities with high college concentrations with little or no NFL exposure," Cuadra said.

  Jaime Cuadra
Using old USFL team names will be examined and are subject to trademark availability and fit of franchise location.

Cuadra has enlisted as a consultant Jim Steeg, the former San Diego Chargers COO, who for 34 years served the NFL as the man in complete charge of Super Bowls and special events. “I like the idea a lot. I haven’t talked to anyone who thinks the idea sucks. If you truly believe a triple-A spring football league has merit, this is the way to go. It’s not meant to compete with the NFL. It will give players the opportunity to develop. There are 3,000 football players and only 1,800 roster spots in the NFL. Particularly with the NFL’s new CBA, I think this kind of thing has a different place,” said Steeg.

Steeg must like the idea, because “I’m not getting paid,” he said. At least, not yet.

“The USFL and UFL did the same thing — they weren’t fiscally responsible. The XFL went totally gimmicky. It’s not going to work with purists. NFL Europe was a great idea, but costly. We can see the mistakes that have been made and try to avoid them," Cuadra said.

May 10, 2012
Birmingham is still being mentioned in articles as a target city for the New USFL.

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Also, the league is using its fourth different logo.

July 2, 2012
Cuadra says he hopes Birmingham has a place in the league, which is looking at cities with a strong college market but is without an NFL or MLB team.

"We know that area is such a huge football area. Spring football, I think, would do just wonderfully there. I think it's the city, the demographic we're looking for," Cuadra said.

The league is also targeting Austin, Memphis, Portland, and Raleigh-Durham.

Cuadra insists the New USFL will attempt to work with the NFL, providing player development in a way similar to Major League Baseball's AAA minor league system or the National Basketball Association's Developmental League.

Current plans are to start with an eight team league that will play a 14 game schedule from March to June. "It's definitely not going to be your dad's USFL," said Cuadra.

Cuadra and newly-hired USFL chief operating officer Fred Biletnikoff, Jr. visited Akron, Ohio last week on their first stop on a tour of potential franchise sites. Caudra said the trip "went really, really well." A group of investors has stepped up as a potential owner of a new franchise. Their next stops will be in Salt Lake City, Portland, and Austin/San Antonio.

However, Caudra says his league has not been able to have a significant talk with Birmingham officials. "We've had very little conversation with anybody out there. We keep putting that up there as something we want to make happen. I am so hoping that an ownership group comes out of that city to put a team there."

Some people believe that Alabamian's love for everything Alabama and Auburn would distract from their support of a USFL team in Birmingham. Cuadra is not one of them. "We've talked about that a little bit, how there's a potential there could be a little saturation and the loyalties wouldn't be so quickly attached to the USFL. We feel like a lot of people from the area who don't make it to an NFL team would make it (in the USFL)."

"I just think that football in that area is king, so bringing a USFL team so people could enjoy spring football would be our goal. Hopefully somebody there reaches out to us and catches the vision we have," Cuadra said.

September 10, 2012
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The New USFL is now using their fifth logo, despite not having played a single game.

February 11, 2013
The New USFL announced today that it has signed a confidential agreement with an established real estate development company to build multiple commercial developments throughout the United States, with the centerpiece of each development to be a mid-sized stadium to host a USFL team.

The USFL and its development partner have identified and secured the first five of these markets and plan to begin construction on stadiums to seat up to 20,000 fans in time for the league’s inaugural season, which is scheduled to kick off in the spring of 2014. The markets include locations in Southern California, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama.

“It is still the USFL’s goal to secure eight teams for our launch in 2014, and we feel that with a mixture of joint-ventured teams and other ownership groups we will achieve our goal,” said Jaime Cuadra, the USFL’s president and CEO. “Due to the delicate nature of the development process, we will wait to disclose the specific cities until a later date.”

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Each development will contain a USFL football stadium, a sports and entertainment complex, residential and retail space. The USFL and its development partner plan to build the new developments across the spectrum of small, mid-size, and large markets with the goal of bringing economic development to underserved areas and creating jobs and a sustainable economy for these selected cities.

In striking this deal, the USFL gains an experienced development partner with the resources and ability to quickly construct stadiums that will fit the needs of an emerging and state-of-the-art sports league. The development company benefits by securing an anchor tenant for developments in five of its locations across the United States.

“We’re tremendously excited about this partnership,” Cuadra said. “Not only is this a milestone achievement as far as moving us closer to kicking off in 2014, but it will help us tremendously as we move forward with securing sponsorships, negotiating media packages and eventually bringing aboard general managers, coaches, and players.”

When asked for specifics, Cuadra said the city planned in Alabama is not Birmingham.

Also, the New USFL is now using their sixth different logo.

June 24, 2013
Jaime Cuadra has plead guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from two San Diego companies and using the money primarily to fund The New USFL.

Cuadra is the former chief financial officer of Oceanic Enterprises, Inc. He plead guilty to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return in connection with the embezzlement from Oceanic and its parent company, Umami Sustainable Seafood, Inc. Umami specializes in Bluefin tuna farms, with locations in Croatia and Mexico.

In a plea agreement, Cuadra said he embezzled money from 2010 until his termination in February, when he also resigned as president and CEO of The New USFL.

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Cuadra admitted to using the embezzled funds to attract league investors and pay league executives and marketing and public relations fees.

He also said he used the money to support other businesses, lease a Porsche, pay for travel, purchase computers, designer clothing, and artwork. He also admitted to filing false tax returns during a three year period, amounting to nearly $390,000 in unpaid taxes. As part of his plea, he must repay the embezzled funds and the unpaid taxes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service conducted the investigation.

According to the plea, Cuadra also faces a prison term of 22 years when he is sentenced in September.

Incredibly, the New USFL is now using a SEVENTH logo.

November 4, 2013
A U. S. District Judge sentenced Jaime Cuadra to 41 months in prison and he was ordered to repay the more than $1 million he embezzled from Oceanic Enterprises, Inc.

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FOX Sports announced on June 3rd, 2021 that they would be reviving the United States Football League. Trademarks for most all of the original teams are now owned by FOX Sports.

Rumors began to circulate that FOX wants Birmingham to host the inaugural season in a "bubble format", where all the teams would be housed in Birmingham and games would be played at Protective Stadium and Legion Field.

On November 22, 2001 the original eight teams are announced, and the Birmingham Stallions will be a member.

After a long process of getting all the various parties and officials together, FOX Sports announced on January 25, 2022 that the USFL's inaugural "bubble" season would indeed be played in Birmingham.

In February 2022, Michael Dwyer announces that Birmingham is under consideration for a new Spring football league he plans to organize, the American Spring Football League. He hopes his league can begin play in 2023. In media appearances, Dwyer insists he would still have the United States Football League trademark if it weren't for a deceitful attorney that took it from him and Jamie Cuadra.
Contact Gene Crowley
Last update: April 09, 2022