Story By TERRY LEFTON
Published November 05, 2007 : Page 03
The UFL continues to expand its executive roster with NFL talent.
Former NFL licensing chief Frank Vuono is joining the league as COO, and former NFL Director of Officiating Larry Upson is now vice president of officiating/operations. The appointments come after Michael Huyghue was named the first UFL commissioner in September.
Michael and I go back a long
way and [league founder] Bill Hambrecht and I share a Princeton connection, and I just think that football is what we do and the league will be a real complement to the NFL, especially with NFL Europe ending, Vuono said. Theres no other development league thats an outdoor fall league and at this stage in my career, starting a new league is pretty exciting.
The league says it will launch in August 2008, playing games on Friday nights in non-NFL markets. Thus far it has attracted investments from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Googles Tim Armstrong.
Vuono left NFL Properties in 1993, last serving as executive vice president of consumer products. He co-founded sports marketing firm Integrated Sports International in 1993, which was acquired by SFX in 1999. He co-founded 16W Marketing in 2000, which will also be working on league business.
Vuono said his top priority and biggest challenge will be securing a TV/media package. Weve got to establish a media vehicle before we can start to approach licensing or sponsorship deals, he said. Overall, weve got to make the business side of the league as turnkey as possible, so when someone signs on as an owner, they can open the doors right away.
Since his contract was not signed, Vuono would not confirm that he received equity as part of his deal, as was the case with Huyghue. But he said, I certainly hope so.