A professional football team is relocating to Hartford. WNPR's Ray Hardman has more:
The upstart United Football league debuted last year with four teams and a 8 week fall schedule. Earlier this week, Governor Jodi Rell and UFL commisioner Michael Huyghue announced that the New York Sentinels franchise will move their operations to Downtown Hartford, play their home games at East Hartford's Rentschler field, and let the fans choose their new name. Huyghue is a Windsor, Connecticut native. He says he has had his eye on the Hartford market for some time:
"Well, I think the demographics are right, I think it's been a strong town in terms of supporting sports, it's a city that has taunted with maybe getting an NFL team, those are the kind of markets we're looking for, and certainly Rentschler Field is an exceptional venue that had a lot to do with the decision. You know, I've been standing on my perch, screaming that Hartford deserves a pro franchise, and it sorta needs to be able to be part of a new league that is finally coming to Hartford."
Home games will be played on Friday and Saturday nights at Rentschler, with tickets prices hovering around $20. Rather than trying to compete with the NFL, UFL has a loose affiliation with the NFL which may be key to their longevity. For instance, UFL players are allowed to break their contract if they are called up to the NFL; the UFL and NFL share referees, and the UFL promises no franchises in NFL markets. The Hartford team will play their first game in September.
For WNPR, I'm Ray Hardman.