UFL helmets and logo Credit: UFL

Fox has reportedly found a replacement for the Friday night spot being vacated by WWE Smackdown.

Deadline Hollywood reported Monday the network is “replacing the departing wrestling franchise with sports coverage of college football and basketball as well as UFL.”

That report has fueled speculation the fledgling new league will not only return for a second season but might already be eyeing expansion.

TVLine reported last week that Smackdown would move to the USA Network starting Sept. 13, a month earlier than the previously reported departure date.

Obviously, the UFL, which plays a spring schedule, isn’t an option for Fox’s fall schedule, but college football and basketball could be nice fits.

Other spring football leagues, The Spring League, XFL and USFL, have all aired Friday night games in the past. But the UFL potentially adding a Friday night game led some to speculate that’s a sure sign a league expansion is in the works. The eight-team UFL formed in December as the result of an XFL-USFL merger.

The league’s inaugural season features 31 games on broadcast networks, including 21 on Fox, which owns a 50% share in the new venture. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a couple of business partners, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital’s Gerry Cardinale, round out the ownership group.

ABC, ESPN, and FS1 are the UFL’s other broadcast partners.

While there have been some predictions the UFL will follow in the footsteps of other failed spring football leagues, the report Fox is planning Friday night games is a good sign that the league will be back in 2025, and the rumored expansion is on track.

Fans and sports media responded to the report with some optimism about the spring football league’s future.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.