In January 2018, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon announced the XFL would relaunch in 2020.
After just 3 months of play in 2001, Vince was forced to shut down the league due to low ratings, attendance, and no interest among fans.
When it was revealed the league would return almost two decades later, many were concerned they would face a similar issue. This turned out not to be the case though; after countless promotions and advertisements, fans actually became invested in the up-and-coming football league. After all, football through April seemed pretty cool.
Eight teams were chosen, and scattered over the country: New York, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Washington DC, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle. When it came time for games to be played, they easily drew large crowds for all games. The XFL was off to a hot start.
After the first week of games, it was pretty clear the league had completely surpassed its expectations. In the first week alone, the XFL drew 13.1 million viewers for its inaugural games.
The league wasn’t without flaws though, as its long run time and dull playing style were noticeable issues. They didn’t seem to matter too much though, as its positives features heavily outweighed the negatives. The sideline interviews, passionate fans, unique rulebook and even an NFL presence from the likes of Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley really carried the league.
Talent wasn’t lacking either. Former NFL and college players made up the XFL, and some proved they could potentially make it playing professional football. Presumed league MVP PJ Walker of the Houston Roughnecks signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers, and St. Louis QB Jordan Ta’amu signed with the Super Bowl champions in Kansas City.
History Repeats Itself
Unfortunately like 2001, the XFL was forced to shut down operations after only a few months of play. They only were able to hold five of the ten planned weeks of games.
Obviously this time it wasn’t about ratings or demographics though. The COVID – 19 outbreak ran the league’s bank account into the ground and they had no other option than to file for bankruptcy.
The worst part about this was that McMahon had proven they could successfully run a football league in the US other than the NFL, and it probably won’t return now.
This is a classic instance of history repeating itself, and we can only speculate what the future holds for the XFL.
Photo credit: Nevada Sports Net