The first day of spring is literally just around the corner.
The clocks have moved forward, daylight lasts well past dinnertime, and people are starting to smile again. Yes, the tide is turning, better days are finally upon us.
It won’t be long before the high school baseball and softball teams are playing.
Even one of my favorites, professional spring football, is on the horizon. May be.
A new United States Football League (USFL), owned by the FOX television network, is set to premiere in April with eight teams.
The “New” USFL brings back the names of the original 1980s USFL teams: Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers, Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Tampa Bay Bandits. All games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama.
The USFL debuted as a spring alternative to the National Football League (NFL). The owners caused a stir by tricking players into defecting to their new league by paying more money. Some college stars went to the USFL instead of the NFL.
Some of the marquee names who played first in the USFL included: Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Reggie White, Herschel Walker, Anthony Carter, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier. The league looked like it could make it an alternative until it decided to face off with the NFL in the fall. They bet everything on an antitrust lawsuit, encouraged by New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump.
They won the case, but were awarded $1 in damages. The league has retreated into myth and legend.
I was thrilled to hear that the league was returning, surprised it had the same name and even old team names, logos and colors were used.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one surprised. A complaint has been filed by the teams’ former owners. The original USFL is suing the new USFL for trademark infringement, false advertising, and false association related to its league name, logos, and uniforms.
“Fox could have easily started his own league with new teams, but instead chose to take the goodwill and nostalgia of the original league without the permission of the people who actually created it,” the attorney said. Alex Brown in a press release. “Fox cannot dispute that the ‘Real USFL’ marks are recognizable and valued because they use them and deliberately confuse their league with the original. Rather than do the right thing, Fox has chosen to try to ‘bullying the previous owners into submission. That’s not going to happen.’
The Sporting News reports that the trademark case could get a little trickier depending on which parties hold ownership of the team’s names and logos. But either way, as Larry Csonka, the initial head of “The Real USFL, LLC” pointed out, there was probably a reason Fox wanted to use that branding.
“It comes down to this,” Csonka said, per Touchdown Wire. “If the USFL has no value, why did Fox want it?”
It will be interesting to see how this all pans out in court. With teams drafted, new uniforms, and updated logos ready to go, there’s a lot at stake for the new USFL.
But it should come as no surprise that the USFL is making a name for itself in the courts. It is their original brand, after all.
As always, I await your comments. You can reach me by email at [email protected], phone 715-268-8101 or write to me at PO Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.
Thanks for reading. I will stay in touch. Do not hesitate to do the same.