UFL confirms future Chattanooga interest

UFL confirms future Chattanooga interest

March 23rd, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - Professional

The United Football League is considering Chattanooga as a potential franchise, but the league plans to stay with five teams for 2011.

UFL vice president Michael Preston said Tuesday that Chattanooga is being evaluated as an expansion possibility along with Los Angeles, Portland, Salt Lake City and San Antonio. The league hoped to kick off its third season in August with six teams but will move forward with the Hartford Colonials, Las Vegas Locomotives, Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions and Virginia Destroyers.

"We would rather survive as a five-team league than be overly ambitious and have it all go wrong," Preston said.

The UFL would like to expand to eight teams within the next couple of years and is targeting markets without National Football League franchises. Preston said the league also wants venues that hold between 20,000 and 30,000 people, a need that would be met by Finley Stadium.

"What we try and do is come in and partner with a city," he said. "We don't want to come in saying, 'Can you pay for this and this?' We've worked closely with the mayor's office in our cities, and there were a couple of places we didn't go because we didn't have the building relationship we were looking for.

"Omaha has worked out really well because there is obviously an interest in football there with Nebraska. It's a well-contained city and a good community, and we are looking for similar models."

Neither Merrill Eckstein, Finley Stadium's executive director, nor the mayor's office had been contacted by the UFL as of Tuesday.