To millions of NFL fans, today is the saddest day due to the fact that fans have to wait two months before the NFL Draft and six months before the start of the 2020 season. To other football fans, the start of the XFL 2.0 starts Saturday. Why should John/Joan Q Football fans be excited? Here are the major reasons why XFL won’t fail as the first incarnation did.
Disney is NOT NBC
Just to remind those who have any doubts, FOX is completely invested in the WWE due to their weekly Friday night wrestling series, SmackDown. With their commitment, the opportunity left behind by NFL football is too good to pass up investing in Vince McMahon’s XFL. Keep in mind, it’s not just Fox Sports throwing its weight around, but Disney’s other networks in ABC and ESPN also throwing their support for the XFL. The foundation is far more solid than the Alliance of American Football ever had because of greater investment in business partnerships among networks. TNT and CBS didn’t have the investment in the AAF compared to FOX and by extension, Disney to McMahon.
McMahon (Presumably) Learned from Previous Mistakes
When McMahon made the announcement to bring back the XFL, he promised not to mix his brands up with the WWE and the XFL. One is operating independently from the other thanks to his formation of Alpha Entertainment. He’s delegated the football side of operations to Oliver Luck, who had zero ties to the WWE and its hierarchy prior to his hiring. That means no Michael Cole, Corey Graves, or Jerry “The King” Lawler calling football games.
As the league started building infrastructure, it had over a year to produce input from football minds from across the country. Greater pools of talent became available from the bankruptcies of the Arena Football League and the AAF. The league benefitted from a wait-and-see approach. Rule changes in the current incarnation speed up the game and adopted rules from the NFL, CFL, and the NCAA for a smoother transitioning game.
Broadcasting Options are Wider Now Than Before
The XFL of 2020 has far more options than the league in 2001 ever had. Citing the success of Amazon and Facebook, McMahon opened the possibility to make the league more accessible online through streaming venues. Even if broadcast viewership were down in certain parts of the season, there’s always an opportunity for fans to watch the game and the league to maintain exposure.
McMahon’s not new when it comes to streaming revenue given the success to his WWE Network, which completely supplanted his reliance on Pay Per View broadcasting. What’s worked for WWE will likely work for the future of the XFL. Ultimately, the league’s had experience and head start to success where it failed before.
Gone are the days of the grammatically cringing, Rod “He Hate Me” Smart. We’re approaching a true upstart league with a rare second opportunity others not afforded before. The USFL, UFL, and AAF didn’t have those with dreams to continue once their leagues folded. McMahon isn’t as ignorant as he’s stubborn when it comes to second chances.