The XFL Will Offer Minor League Football

It is strictly minor leagues.

By all measures, Vince McMahon’s second go round as a football entrepreneur will be that of a minor league sports operator. There will be television exposure but it does not appear the XFL will be getting very much TV money. McMahon is renting stadiums which means he is not going to get that much venue revenue. Without big TV money and sweetheart deals from local politicians, McMahon cannot pay all that much in terms of players’ salaries. In fact, McMahon is going to let players out of their contracts following the XFL championship game in April if those players receive National Football League team offers. Initially there were reports that McMahon wanted to keep players around and develop XFL personalities.

The new XFL comes 19 years after McMahon and NBC presented a new league surrounded by massive hype. But the league staggered through the 2001 season losing money. Yet, McMahon wanted to keep the enterprise going. The 2001 version of the XFL did not give the American public a compelling reason to watch the league. The TV ratings plunged after the first week and one sponsor canceled its marketing agreement. The XFL was giving away ads during week 4 broadcasts. The league started with an enormous amount of publicity and questions surrounding McMahon’s role and whether or not the XFL was a bona fide athletic contest or a scripted affair. Football people and the television community knew the first week would produce high TV ratings. The main question was whether or not McMahon could hang onto people who were sampling the product. The answer came in weeks, three, four and five. Americans weren’t too interested in February football. The new XFL will get lost in March during the men’s college basketball tournament and baseball’s spring training along with the NBA, NHL and other sports. It is a difficult terrain to navigate.