XFL has gone bust again

Everybody laid off , no plans for 2021 Maybe third time will be the charm.

Not at all surprising. Even though, from what I saw and read, this iteration of the league had been better than the first one, they weren’t facing good odds.

Ironically, while I was on Facebook the other day, it showed me several “People You May Know” suggestions, and one of them was a former co-worker of mine, who’d left the agency last year. We weren’t close, and I hadn’t had any contact with her since she left, but her Facebook profile noted that she had been working at the XFL since February. Bad timing for her. :frowning:

Maybe they could nationalize it under executive authority so Donald Trump could run it. He has great experience, so great, he’s just the best when it comes to running football leagues into the ground.


As much as I made fun of the XFL, one can hardly blame them for this particular force majeure.

Yeah. It was a long shot but the timing was out of their control.

I was enjoying it. It certainly wasn’t NFL quality, but it was fun enough in its own way, and a nice break from the usual pro sports February offerings of basketball, hockey, basketball, hockey, and yet more basketball and hockey. Best of all, it got out of the pro wrestling shadow, and tried to play real football with real players, who could actually play a real game.

I’m not surprised either, but I’m sad to see it fold.

Too bad. It really was run far more competently this time around than in 2001. No fault of its own.


Stranger on a Train, believe it or not, not everything needs to be about Trump. Leave it for the political forums.

I snagged some merch from their shop while I could. They’re selling out. There are some potential collector’s items in there.

RIP Dragons. I really was liking the XFL. At least it let PJ Walker show off his skills, and he’s now Bridgewater’s backup QB with the Panthers.

Lucky way to end it for Vince, he can put the blame on the virus.

The comments for this pretty much say it all. It’s during times of adversity when a person, or gruop, or league, or company, or institution learns who their true friends are. If this league truly was loved, if it truly had loyal fans, the response would be to rally behind it. Hell, if an unfortunate circumstance which it was completely blameless for was the cause of its troubles, they should be marching in the damn streets in full-throated support of it. Fans should be having FUNDRAISERS in an effort to keep it afloat! Instead I see nothing but subdued goodbyes, feeble zero-effort jokes (my dad has much better jokes than any of those), and fists shaken at the AAF. I’ve never seen such whimpering defeatism at the fate of a league that supposedly had a huge diehard fan following that found everything about it better than the NFL.

And where are all the commentators who gushed week after week how this league got everything 100% better and had a bright future? Where are all the fans in places like Saint Louis that had their hearts ripped out and were eternally grateful to have another chance at pro football? Where are all the videogamers breathlessly anticipating the inevitable PS4 release? Hell, where was Vince McMahon himself? If the first XFL got the positive response the second did, he’d have been crowing to the heavens! Now it’s like, oh, too bad, whaddya gonna do, pull the plug and forget about it. Pathetic.

I know I shouldn’t get emotionally involved…hell, I said from the beginning that I didn’t care either way…but I can’t help but feel annoyed that I’ve been had. All the love, all the support, all the brash claims and big dreams, it was always a mile wide and an inch deep. For crying out loud, what happens the first time this league has to deal with a strike? Or a lawsuit? Or a star player suffering a really nasty injury? Or a star player who does something extremely embarrassing and/or felonious? Or the one franchise that’s in the cellar every year and the fans are tired of it and leaving in droves? Or a stadium that needs extensive repair work? Or, to get really wild, the level of play never advancing beyond Division 2 because all the good players keep going to the NFL? And not to burst anyone’s brain cells, but what happens when the clock runs out on Vinny Mac’s 3-year sugar daddying and the league has to stand on its own financially shaky feet? If we’re lucky, the league collapses without someone going to prison.

I think it’s time we, as a nation, accept the harsh reality: A viable second pro football league ain’t happening. The Arena League was honestly our bestest-bestest shot, and it didn’t even last a quarter century. (When a football league is less viable than the WNBA, there’s a problem.) We have the NFL, we have college, and that is it. The game is just too big, too extravagant, and too demanding for one nation to have any more.

Feh. Back to cornhole, I guess.

I can’t see what a fanbase would have done. What could they do? There weren’t any games and the XFL was too new a league for its deep pockets to help it ride out adversity. Not having a season due to a pandemic is something unforseen. It can’t be compared to strikes or injuries.

It’s too bad. I liked having a team in DC I could actually root for. It might not have survived even without the pandemic, but we’ll never know.

I think McMahon would be more successful if he would take the XFL and turn it into a more exciting version of arena football.

So Vince McMahon, who was so devastated after the first one failed that he promised 3 years of funding this time, just quietly curls up and dies? No press conference, no official statement, not even an angry tweet? He once nearly choked out Bob Costas for daring to suggest that this might not be viable, now he doesn’t even care? That, to me, is the most damning thing about all this. Twenty years ago, Vinny Mac would have RAGED about the prospect of losing one of his properties through no fault of his own. Now…nothing. This is not a man who’s passionate about his creation and will stop at nothing to preserve it, this is a man who realized he made a big mistake and is looking for a way out.

I saw it in the promo spots. I mentioned how haggard he looked, how little energy he had. Yes, there was something out there with the name “XFL” again, but it wasn’t his vision. Gone was the outlaw appeal, the sex, the debauchery, the wildness. At some point he had to look at the whole thing and think, do I even want this to succeed? Well, now we have the answer.

That you think a football league needs several seasons with no adversity to be a success just further convinces me that it’s a lost cause.

(Seriously, cornhole is fun, give it a shot. ;))

I suspect that, as you note, the XFL really hadn’t had the time to cultivate a following and a fan base whose support wasn’t an inch deep. They played, what, five games before they shut down due to the coronavirus?

Even though they did seem to be starting to develop some real fan interest, I imagine that, for most fans, it was the equivalent of a brief romance – even if it was intense and awesome while it was happening, it didn’t last long enough to generate any long-term attachment. In other words, the XFL probably hadn’t been around long enough to even generate many “true friends.”

Regarding McMahon, and his initial promise to keep the league going for at least three years: it’s entirely possible that his companies’ finances, and his personal finances, also took a bath due to the bear market. And, even if he was willing to restart in 2021, he might realize that the league would be effectively starting over from zero (or close to it) on building fan support.

For McMahon it’s probably about cutting losses.

I’ve never understood the need for an XFL brand. I kinda got the marketing back in the 1990s, with an aging, chain-smoking population that remembered Ray Nitschke clotheslines, Decon Jones head slaps, and Jack Lambert body slams. McMahon was trying to sell a rougher brand of football.

But those days are gone. There’s no vintage football to sell, and there are other sports that are edgier than pro football.

an online sports book let you bet on whether or not the XFL would fold before the end of their first season. i wonder how this is interpreted.

That was kind of why XFL 2.0 was, well, different from XFL Classic; they took out the edgy bullshit and just tried to sell spring football.

The evidence is fairly strong that the problem isn’t the XFL, it’s spring football. The XFL - or the AAF, or CFL expansion, or all the other attempts - fundamentally relies on the assumption that people want football at all times, and that this desire will overwhelm the fact that the league is minor league football. That just isn’t something the evidence supports.

It’s entirely possible that i you ran one of these leagues for 10-15 years, it would earn a perception of legitimacy that would cause interest to climb, but is anyone willing to lose money for that long?

I have it from a reliable source that Vince McMahon has based the idea of the XFL, past and present, on the idea that football fans are looking for an alternative to the NFL. His original concept of smash-mouth football, or the recent one of just a faster paced more interesting game were secondary factors, he felt the NFL was being monopolistic and the fans would love something else. I think he’s expressing his business basis there, the demand comes from the fans for an alternative. I think for that reason in a situation where fans might even be denied the NFL, and his investment returning nothing right now, he cut his losses and shut down. If Vince is still at it a couple of years after a Corona recovery we may see V3.0.

I think he’s nuts, but he’s been a lot more successful with nutty ideas than I have so who am I to criticize?

That’s a good question. In the case of both the AAF last year, and the XFL this year, ownership initially stated that they knew that they would lose money at first, and that they were committed to investing in the leagues for at least three seasons, to build at least the start of that legitimacy (and fan base).

But, in both cases, things changed unexpectedly: the AAF’s primary backer turned out to not have the money he claimed to have, forcing them to bring in a different investor during their opening weekend, who apparently didn’t have the stomach to lose money that the league’s original management had. And, of course, the XFL couldn’t have predicted being forced to suspend play due to a pandemic.