The original XFL was a gigantic failure. A joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) and NBC to create a new form of football was initially met with a lot of excitement, but never made it past a single season played. It began in 2001 and was over before the close of the year.
Yet, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is bringing the once edgy football platform back almost two decades later. And he has a chance to succeed.
First of all, McMahon has the luxury of being able to learn from his mistakes the first time around. While the new XFL will certainly be very distinguished from the NFL, including current concepts of eradicating halftime, banning all players with any criminal past and creating the league as a single-entity as opposed to having a franchise model, it will probably not divert too far from the actual way that the game of football is played on the field. This is important in order to secure quality football players, which McMahon says he will put a premium on this time around.
Second of all, McMahon says he is not going to let his own ego get in the way. He is known not only as the Chairman of WWE, but also as the face of the enterprise. With the new version of the XFL, there will be little-to-no McMahon mentions. He claims that he will be hiring smart football people to run the show and promises to stay away from the personal gimmicks.
Third of all, there will be no crossover between the XFL and WWE. This is an important point. The XFL needs to be its own entity, separate and apart from the WWE. Further, the WWE is not invested in the enterprise this time. Instead, McMahon sold some of his WWE to help fund the venture.
The new XFL will not launch until 2020, giving McMahon and the team that he selects more than enough time to work out all issues surrounding the new league. It will be comprised of 8 teams with the home cities not yet announced. Each season will begin at the beginning of the calendar year.
"I think this will fly," says FanMaker CEO Jason Cole. "There is an market opening for professional Spring football. Past efforts always ran into trouble with broadcast rights (USFL), or labor costs and owner financial disparities (AFL of Bon Jovi and Elway). McMahon will probably build on his successful WWE streaming model so he won't "need" a broadcast partner to launch and single entity eliminates most labor strife."