Today we announced that the 2011 United Football League season will now kickoff in mid-September as opposed to August 13 as originally announced. At the conclusion of last season we announced that we would play in August because we believed then, and now, that playing in August provides a compelling opportunity for us to offer meaningful games during the NFL preseason. At the time we could not have predicted that the uncertainty of the NFL and NBA lockouts would create a destabilizing, negative impact throughout the professional sports industry.
The uncertainty that gripped pro sports delayed many essential business agreements until late in the offseason. In order to provide the product that UFL fans have grown to expect after two seasons we decided it was in the best interest of our fans, our players, our staff and our brand to push back kickoff. Our ownership group, our staff and the entire UFL family remains committed to providing a great 2011 season.
Players and Coaches had arrived in our cities to prepare for the season. Many of them will now depart for a few weeks at league expense. We will announce a new training camp and season schedule shortly which will provide a timeline for their return. Some players and coaches will remain in our cities to help market their team.
We are appreciative of your support. We began this venture during the worst economy of our lifetime. In recent years the economy has shown little improvement and, even during a time of hardship for many of you, it is your support that has sustained us. More than 400,000 of you have attended our games. Many more have tuned in to our telecasts. We intend to provide the same great football and experiences that you have supported through our first two seasons in 2011 and beyond.
We will offer refunds for those who may not be available to attend all of our games given the new schedule. We will reward your loyalty with a great product, a great experience and additional incentives to thank you for your loyalty. We know that no incentive can match your dedication but we want you to know how important you are to all of us here at the UFL.
I look forward to seeing you at our games beginning in mid-September. Our Coaches and our players are fired up and ready to provide you with great games throughout the season and I cannot wait to see which team ends up winning the UFL Championship Game this season.
Commissioner Michael Huyghue