Boston Globe

October 3, 1973

By Cooper Rollow - Knight News Service

ABA, WHA…and now WFL

CHICAGO - A second major professional football league is being formed to open play in 1974.

The new circuit will be called the World Football League and will have 12 franchises, six of which have already been awarded. It will challenge the established National Football League for players, television money and fans.

Spearheading the new league is Gary Davidson, who is using the same formula he employed in forming the American Basketball League and the World Hockey Association.

Davidson, president of the WHA, apparently will retain the post, becoming president of the new World Football League as well. He will also be owner of a West Coast franchise in either Los Angeles or Anaheim.

The six charter cities and their owners (all connected with the WHA) are: Los Angeles-Anaheim (Gary Davidson); New York (Bob Schmertz, who also owns the Boston Celtics and New England Whalers); Honolulu (Ben Hatskin); Tampa (Nick Mileti); Tokyo (Steve Arnold); Toronto (John Bassett Jr.). In addition to Chicago, other cities under consideration include Boston, Houston, Memphis, Norfolk or Richmond, Virginia, Birmingham, Alabama, Charlotte, North Carolina, Mexico City, London and Osaka, Japan.

Franchises will be awarded on a graduated scale as they become approved. The price, which started at $250,000 for the six charter teams, already has reached $500,000 - a very modest price when you consider that the average NFL franchise is said to be worth $12 million.

The new league envisions an all-out bidding war for college talent with the established NFL.

Any athlete who has played out his NFL option and becomes a free agent thus becomes a target of the new league.

The league plans to get other player talent from a variety of places. Many will be NFL castoffs, many more will be from the college market and others will come from the Canadian League.

The new circuit plans to play a schedule of 14 games next fall with no exhibition contests. Travel between such distant franchise spots as Tokyo and London is not seen as an obstacle by the founding fathers. Transportation costs will be divided among the league which will have its own travel bureau.

There is apparently no concern over the ability of the new league to obtain a lucrative contract on the grounds that the NFL has a monopoly with the three major TV networks.