A lot of people have been speculating about what Donald Trump is up to with Affliction. Some say he’s just ‘licensing’ his name to the promotion the same way he licenses his brand to real estate deals. Others think this is a marketing scheme to drive his name value up with MMA’s oh so desired meathead demographic. While it could be either or it could be neither, here’s an interesting dimension you probably didn’t know about: Trump has done this before … with football.
In September of 1983, Trump, who was virtually unknown outside the real estate world at the time, bought the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League and began to compete with the NFL for high-priced talent, including Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie. In doing so, he helped drive up the pay scale in the budding league, which has started out life in nice shape, with a national television contract for its spring-summer schedule.
Trump was taking an ego trip at light speed.
Charlie Steiner, who was a radio broadcaster for the Generals and later wound up an anchor at ESPN, recalls that Trump’s motivation was beyond, and often apart, from football.
“He bought the back page of the Daily News and the Post,” Steiner told ESPN.com’s Greg Garber. “Suddenly, he was a man about town. He was building the greatest football team in history. Pretty soon, he was making Page Six. It didn’t matter to him if the league made it or not, he had already succeeded.”