Preparations for the UFL Premiere Season kicked off in the summer with player signings and a draft. Training camps for the players began on September 9 in Casa Grande, Arizona for the Western teams and September 10 in Orlando, Florida for the Eastern teams.
The league announced its game schedule in the first week of August, a schedule that features games in teams' primary cities as well as secondary sites (a few of which are potential future UFL homes). Certain game sites were not finalized, however, and changes were made both before the schedule's release and after play had begun:
James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York was considered a probable game venue before the schedule's release, but the league did not set a game for that site until moving the New York Sentinels' November 4 home game that was originally set for Citi Field in Flushing, a move that was announced on October 22.
Sacramento'sHornet Stadium and San Jose'sSpartan Stadium were also mentioned as potential playing venues. The league did not choose Hornet Stadium for a site in 2009, and did not set a game for Spartan Stadium until moving the Redwoods' November 14 home game from AT&T Park, a move also announced on October 22. (The Redwoods would relocate permanently to Sacramento in 2010.)
The November 20th regular season finale, originally set for Home Depot Center in the Los Angeles area, a candidate for UFL expansion in 2010, was moved back to Sam Boyd Stadium, the Las Vegas Locomotives' regular home. It was the first of the in-season venue change announcements made by the league, which publicized the change during week 2 of the season.
Secondary market games were played as scheduled at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, where Florida defeated Las Vegas on October 30, and Rentschler Field in Hartford, where the Tuskers defeated New York on November 12. (The New York Sentinels moved to Hartford following the 2009 season.)
During the week of August 10, the four team names and their uniform jerseys were revealed. Each of the uniforms (and the team logos and helmets that were unveiled on October 2) incorporated the UFL's signature color scheme into their designs, including silver (primary color for the Las Vegas Locomotives), blue (Florida Tuskers), black (New York Sentinels), and lime green and white (California Redwoods). Each of the team jerseys had the same design template, complete with a horizontal arc across the top front that resembles the arc on the UFL's logo.
The Florida Tuskers (right) against the Las Vegas Locomotives (left) at Tropicana Field on October 30
The UFL launched play on October 8, 2009, with the Las Vegas Locomotives defeating the California Redwoods 30–17 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Locos' kicker Graham Gano's 33-yard field goal with 3:20 remaining in the 1st quarter were the first points in league history, while a 5-yard run by Redwoods' quarterback Shane Boyd was the league's first touchdown. The Locos, who trailed 14–3 at one point in the 2nd quarter, rallied for the win via 2 touchdown passes by quarterback J. P. Losman.
The top team during the regular season was the Florida Tuskers; with a roster of players including quarterback Brooks Bollinger and receiver Taye Biddle, the Tuskers finished the season with a perfect 6–0 record, officially securing a berth in the UFL Championship Game with an October 30 win over Las Vegas. The Locomotives clinched 2nd place and the other title game spot with a November 14 win over California.
Sparsely attended games were a noticeable part of the UFL's regular season, with announced crowds ranging from as low as 4,312 for California's November 14 home game in San Jose to as high as 18,187 for the October 8 inaugural game in Las Vegas, (though media observers at the game suggested the actual in-house attendance for that first game was considerably less). The twelve regular-season contests drew a total of 116,132 fans, or an average of 9,678 a game. Florida led the league in average attendance (13,225), while California (5,836) and New York (6,637), hampered in part by shifts in game sites and competing in major markets with an NFL presence, brought up the rear in attendance average. Further, two New York home games were held the same nights as Games 2 and 6 of the 2009 World Series, featuring the New York Yankees. Other factors—including the lack of a season ticket package, large-scale college football in Florida, the death of UConn football player Jasper Howard and Tim Lincecum's Cy Young Award press conference just prior to a Redwoods home game—hampered attendance severely.
Though Florida Tuskers' coach Jim Haslett was among those expressing some disappointment in the league's marketing approach for the season (a possible cause of low attendance), league commissioner Michael Huyghue was among league and team executives who countered that rather than heavily marketing the UFL, the league's premiere season was meant to be a "dress rehearsal" -- start small, promote modestly, emphasize quality of product, and take the results and lessons learned from the season in determining the league's plans for 2010 and beyond.
The UFL's Premiere Season concluded on November 27, 2009 (one day after Thanksgiving) with the championship game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The matchup between the Florida Tuskers and Las Vegas Locomotives was dominated by defense until the 4th quarter, when a total of 24 points were scored, highlighted by 2 touchdown runs by Locos running back DeDe Dorsey. A 33-yard field goal by Graham Gano in overtime (the first overtime game in UFL history) gave Las Vegas the championship (and denied Florida an undefeated season) by a 20–17 score. The final score of the game was set up by a Locos takeaway deep in Tusker territory on Florida's first overtime possession.