Pro football team could kick off next spring in Raleigh
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RALEIGH-- Football fans could soon cheer on a pro team in the City of Oaks. On Tuesday, city councilors will consider a request to bring a United States Football League team to Raleigh.
After collapsing more than 25 years ago, the league plans to re-launch next spring.
"I see fans from the top to the bottom screaming and yelling, 'Go Bisons!'" described Holly Springs resident Harold Turner, who plans to ask Raleigh city councilors to support the idea.
Turner envisions the future pro team, called the Carolina Bison, playing at Carter Finley Stadium.
"Best, perfect place to have a professional team here in Raleigh," Turner said.
The USFL folded in 1987 when it tried competing against the NFL in the fall. This time around, the games for league's initial eight teams would take place in the spring.
Turner said he believes the team would positively impact the region's economy.
"It's going to bring a lot of jobs, even by the tourism coming here, the hotels, the restaurants."
The USFL seeks financial support from investors in the region. The league is not asking cities to fund the team.
"We're just looking for cities to support whichever owner comes out of the market. To help us do whatever we can do to make sure we can get a good stadium lease," said Fred Biletnikoff Jr., the USFL Vice President of Football Operations.
With no pro-baseball teams to compete for ticket sales, the USFL said they feel Raleigh could be the ideal spot for a team. However, sports analysts said they believe it's going to take affordable ticket prices and big name players to actually draw fans.
"What made the USFL in its first inception successful was they had star level players,” explained 99.9 'The Fan' sports radio host Adam Gold. "Herschel Walker left Georgia to go to the New Jersey Generals, Reggie White, a hall of famer, Jim Kelly, a hall of famer."
Gold questions whether the entire league can get off the ground.
"I'm skeptical whether or not there's an interest in football in the spring anywhere at anytime."
In Turner's eyes, there's no question about the year-round appeal for America's favorite pastime.
"Raleigh wins, football team wins, and we're going to win," Turner said.
USFL representatives plan to visit Raleigh in the next couple of weeks to meet with city leaders.
Some other cities that may welcome a team include Akron, Portland, Salt Lake City, Birmingham, and San Antonio.