In a sign of changing (or desperate) times, Sports Business Journal's John Ourand reports that Fox and NBC will both broadcast the first game of the rebooted USFL on April 16.
The Saturday night tilt between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions will have a pregame, halftime, and postgame show hosted by NBC. The actual game broadcast will be handled by FOX. According to Ourand, this is the first time competing networks will air the same game since the 2007 Week 17 matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, where the Pats secured the league’s first undefeated regular season since the Miami Dolphins in 1972. The only other time this has happened? Super Bowl I. Suffice to say, this USFL contest will be part of a unique group of games.
Fox rebooted the USFL in 2021 after years of dormancy, likely spurred by the boom of live sports on broadcast television, specifically football. 75 of the top 100 broadcasts of 2021 were football games, and 95 of the top 100 telecasts from last year were sporting events.
NBC also got in on the action, acting as the league’s “second” partner, which is normal in most sports leagues. The NBA (ESPN & Turner), NHL (ESPN & Turner), MLB (ESPN, Turner, and FOX), MLS (ESPN & Fox,) and of course the NFL (ESPN, NBC, CBS, FOX) all have deals with multiple channels, so it makes sense for another league, especially another football league, to have multiple partners. Between NBC and FOX, all 43 games will air on broadcast television. NBC Sports will present 21 USFL games in 2022 across NBC (8), USA Network (9), and Peacock (4), while FOX will carry 22 games split between FOX (12) and FS1 (10).
As of now, that April 16 matchup between the Generals and Stallions is still scheduled to occur. Coaches have been put in place but players have not been drafted to teams just yet and there’s been zero indication of when that’s happening, which is concerning considering you need players to play football.