On Wednesday, Fox Sports announced that the company would be partnering with NFL Films to create a behind the scenes USFL series. Episodes of United By Football will air before live USFL coverage on Fox.
The premiere (airing on April 16th at 6:30 PM ET) is an hour long, while the rest of the season’s episodes will each be a half hour. The episodes are also narrator-free and will re-air the following week on FS1 and Tubi, with no on-demand option mentioned in the release. Cameras will be in meeting rooms, and both players and coaches will be miked up.
Here’s more from the release.
United By Football, a FOX Sports original series produced by NFL Films, will take fans behind the curtain of the USFL, starting in Birmingham with the inaugural USFL Player Draft held in February of this year, and moving through training camps and a 10-week regular-season. To help celebrate America’s birthday, the series will conclude with the USFL Championship game in Canton, Ohio, where a winner will be crowned on July 3 in the shadow of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The series, without narration, will be driven by the players and coaches, their journeys, told through the signature storytelling lens of NFL Films. Teaming with NFL Films will help the USFL and FOX Sports deliver a world-class fan experience. Whether in the stadium or watching from home, fans will enjoy USFL football that is old-school physical and fast-paced modern.
NFL Films cameras will have unfettered access, including robotic cameras in team meeting rooms and players and coaches wearing microphones during practices and games. In addition, embedded crews will be with all eight teams, capturing the daily challenges these elite athletes and experienced coaches face throughout a demanding schedule and high-pressure competition. For some, playing in the new USFL will be their first taste of professional football, while others are fighting for one last shot to pursue their football dreams. Regardless of the goal, players and coaches alike will be “united by football” in their pursuit of individual and team success during the USFL’s inaugural season.
And here’s the weekly schedule of the series, again per the release.
While the concept itself isn’t revolutionary, airing the episodes during the season as a lead-in to live games is a nice twist on the standard, post-season content dump. However, for better or worse, I think this series will be compared to the in-season Hard Knocks that HBO rolled out last year. With only a half hour each week after the premiere, it’s tough to see how there will be more than cursory looks at some of the league’s teams and players.
But if you’re into behind the scenes sports series, you’ve got another one to add to your viewing schedule.