USFL will be back in 2023, prepares for championship game in Canton July 3

·2 min read

Jun. 27—The USFL will complete its first season with its championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton on July 3.

With one more game to finish off its 2022 season — the first completed spring league since the XFL in 2001 — the USFL already has its sights set on 2023.

On June 27, Fox Sports CEO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks told the Sports Business Journal the USFL will return next season.

The USFL confirms that it will come back for a second season.

The league will keep the same number of teams, but will have games in more markets in 2023.

SBJ has all the details:

— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) June 27, 2022

The league will remain at eight teams, and continue its headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. The big difference in 2023 is instead of one city — Birmingham — hosting the eight teams, the league will expand to play out of between two and four markets.

"We're talking to those cities now in terms of how many we're going to be in locally," Shanks told John Ourand of SBJ.

The league consists of North and South Divisions. Birmingham, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Houston consist of the South. The North is comprised of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Michigan.

Games will remain in the spring, with the championship game again during the week of July 4. There's no word which city will host the playoffs.

"We have a multi-year plan to build this football business," said Shanks. "If anything, the success of Season 1 makes me even more excited than we were before going into Season 2 and beyond."

Also — according to Shanks — the league could expand in 2024. "We've always had an expansion plan that could potentially come into play in year three and beyond," he said.

Canton might be one of the expansion markets, especially if the two-week playoffs in Stark County are deemed a success by the USFL. Tom Benson Stadium hosted the two semifinal games on June 25. Attendance figures weren't announced but an estimate was at about 5,000 for peak attendance. Fans got to see both games for the price of one ticket.

On July 3, the Philadelphia Stars (7-4) play the Birmingham Stallions (10-1) in the USFL Championship Game at 7:30 p.m. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the USFL are hopeful for a big crowd but nearing a sellout of more than 20,000 seems far-fetched, considering the turnout of the semifinal games.

Speaking of the XFL, that league is set to return next spring and compete with the USFL.