Pro football will be played in Detroit this spring, as the USFL’s Michigan Panthers will play home games at Ford Field.
Detroit football fans already itching to see the Lions play again may believe there’s just no substitute. But there will be pro football played in the city before August/September in 2023. This week the USFL announced Ford Field will host games during the 2023 season.
Ford Field will actually house two USFL teams during the upcoming second season of the rebooted league. The Michigan Panthers (of course) and the Philadelphia Stars.
"We’re back!” said Daryl Johnston, USFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “With the help of some great partners, the USFL is making history by announcing that the Michigan Panthers have returned home in 2023 to play at Ford Field. The USFL is proud to be part of the revitalization of downtown Detroit, and we’re excited about turning up the Motown music and firing up a fan base for professional spring football in Michigan.”"
The USFL had all its teams based in and played all its games in Birmingham, Alabama last season. This season the league is spreading out to other hubs, with Canton, Ohio and Memphis, Tennessee joining Detroit and Birmingham as “home” cities.
Detroit, MI: Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars
Canton, OH: Pittsburgh Maulers, New Jersey Generals
Birmingham, AL: Birmingham Stallions, New Orleans Breakers
Memphis, TN: Memphis Showboats, Houston Gamblers
USFL football will add more pro sports in Detroit
The USFL schedule will stretch into July, with a 10-game regular season schedule and the championship game taking place in early July (July 3 last year). The league announced the Panthers’ home schedule will start April 30, with the season starting a coupl weeks before that.
Detroit mayor Mike Duggan cited the impact the USFL will have on the city.
"Today’s announcement builds on Detroit’s momentum as a sports and tourism destination,” “This means we now will have five major sports teams all playing downtown"
The Panthers went just 2-8 under head coach Jeff Fisher last season. But in the 1980’s rendition of the USFL, they were the first champion in 1983. They played the Stars, then also located in Philadelphia, in that championship game. So if there can be a historical rivalry in the USFL, split between two editions of the league and coming up on the 40th anniversary of that 1983 season, Panthers-Stars would be it.
This edition of the USFL is already a unique success, as a spring football league started in the last 20-25 years making it to a second season while having avoided issues within or outside of its control. And there will be football played in Detroit this spring/summer, to keep fans going from April almost all the way to when the Lions start training camp in July.