UFL Opens Inaugural Season As April Is Stuffed With Sports

April 2, 2024 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

This past weekend saw the opening of the 2024 United Football League season after the XFL and USFL announced a merger at the start of the year. The league joins a slew of sports in action this month, including the NCAA men's and women's Final Four championship weekends this week, and next week's Masters Golf Tournament.

The USFL includes the Arlington Renegades, last years XFL Champions, as well as the 2022 and 2023 USFL Champion Birmingham Stallions. The league operates with two four-team conferences with the XFL serving as one conference and the USFL as the other.

Crowded Field of Sports

The league opened on Easter weekend, which probably wasn't too smart. Additionally, eyeballs and fans are also drawn to multiple sports right now with the opening days of Major League Baseball, and the final two-and-a-half weeks of the NBA and NHL regular seasons. There's also NASCAR and plenty of soccer, in addition to spring collegiate sports such as softball and baseball that have become increasingly popular.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is a huge favorite to win the Masters in what is considered to be golf's best event which runs April 11-14. Meanwhile, the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournament Final Fours are this weekend with the both women's games airing on Friday night and the championship from Cleveland on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. And the men's Final Four from Glendale, Arizona takes place on Saturday Saturday with the championship game on Monday.

The NFL Draft is coming up April 25-27 in Detroit.

Not Surprisingly Light UFL Attendance

Can the UFL find a foothold in that crowded atmosphere? If this past weekend's attendance numbers are any indication, the answer is an emphatic 'no'.

Attendance was disappointing around the league, but the Birmingham-Arlington game did manage to set the pace with nearly 15,000 fans (14,153) at Choctaw Stadium which housed MLB's Texas Rangers from 1994-2019 and holds 48,114.

Elsewhere, Detroit's Ford Field seemed cavernous when only 9,444 showed up to watch an exciting finish that saw Jake Bates kick a 64-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to lift the home team Panthers over the visiting St. Louis Battlehawks.

San Antonio dominated DC 27-12 in front of 13,164 in the 73,000-seat Alamodome, and just 9,157 showed up to watch Memphis ruin Houston's home opener with a 18-12 win in the 47,000-seat Rice Stadium.

Arlington and Birmingham christened the new league on Saturday with the Stallions prevailing by a score of 27-14. Under Skip Holtz, Birmingham is 22-3 in the USFL and UFL combined. Considered an average college football coach, at best, Holtz has worked magic in the fledgling leagues.

Birmingham (+250) is listed as the favorite to win the championship this year, according to UFL odds posted at FanDuel with DC (+400) and St. Louis listed as the closest competitors. Arlington (+600) get the 4th-best odds.

UFL Standings

Here is how the league breaks down, and the standings after Week 1:

XFL Conference

Team Won Lost Pct. PF PA Home Road Conf. Streak
San Antonio Brahmas 1 0 1.000 27 12 1-0 0-0 1-0 W1
St. Louis Battlehawks 0 1 .000 16 18 0-0 0-1 0-0 L1
Arlington Renegades 0 1 .000 14 27 0-1 0-0 0-0 L1
DC Defenders 0 1 .000 12 27 0-0 0-1 0-1 L1

USFL Conference

Team Won Lost Pct. PF PA Home Road Conf. Streak
Birmingham Stallions 1 0 1.000 27 14 0-0 1-0 0-0 W1
Memphis Showboats 1 0 1.000 18 12 0-0 1-0 1-0 W1
Michigan Panthers 1 0 1.000 18 16 1-0 0-0 0-0 W1
Houston Roughnecks 0 1 .000 12 18 0-1 0-0 0-1 L1

Week 1 Results (Home Team in BOLD:

Birmingham 27, Arlington 14
Michigan 18, St. Louis 16
San Antonio 27, DC 12
Memphis 18, Houston 12

Week 2 Games

San Antonio at Memphis
Arlington at St. Louis
Birmingham at Michigan
Houston at DC

Memphis, St. Louis and DC get their home openers this weekend without Easter serving as a distraction.

The games are broadcast across the assortment of Fox and ESPN/ABC affiliated networks.