Sunday, May 13, 2012

What a team would do

Imagine this. It is early spring, March or early April of 2013 or 2014. The United States Football League is back in business. It has a national television contract. Charleston's Johnson Hagood Stadium is buzzing as the host of its first home game. The South Carolina Warriors are up against Salt Lake City. The game is broadcast live on national television on a Saturday night.

Over 20,000 fans are filling Johnson Hagood Stadium ready to see some of the best football players outside of the NFL. Fans are coming from all over the state to see players they remember from Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, and dozens of other schools in SC and GA play. The economy gets a big boost locally with these games, even with only six to eight of them a year, excluding playoffs.

All games would be on local radio. Examples of players that might play: Jason Barnes, WR from South Carolina; Rennie Moore from Clemson; and others from schools in the area who don't make NFL teams (not slighting these guys, but players from the major schools would put people in the seats).

The goal of the team would be to become a regional draw. Advertising of this team would occur in Myrtle Beach, Florence, and Columbia, and the goal would be to get fans from the entire eastern part of South Carolina. It will be tougher to get fans from the other parts of the state, but there's still a large market involved.

More than 2,000,000 people live within 100 miles of Charleston, and getting people to go from those areas would be important.

For pro and semi-pro sports, Myrtle Beach has just minor league baseball and soccer, a race track and Coastal Carolina, while the Florence area has only the race track and summer league baseball that doesn't begin till June. Columbia only has the Gamecocks, a few other colleges, and a summer league team.

At least one game a year for this team would be played at Williams-Brice or at Brooks Stadium in Conway (which seats over 9,000, and is looking to grow).

Local and regional companies around here could invest in the team in order to find a competent owner. The Charleston area is a fast-growing part of the country with a lot of people moving from the north who are used to following a team.

With affiliation agreements with NFL teams, and teams able to pick up USFL players, this would build up interest in the league in the area. Instead of playing in low-end indoor leagues or in semipro ball, they could get legitimate pay, playing in an area that would support them.

This league will be interesting to follow.

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