by Alex Poletti
Photo by XFL
In a move that left many in the sports world speechless, the XFL suspended operations and laid off a vast majority of its workers. This surprised many, despite the fact that the XFL already shut down once before in 2001 and has followed a history of Spring football leagues that have never been successful.
“We did not see this coming,” XFL owner Vince McMahon says. “We thought that because it had failed once before, and because the AAF was such a spectacular failure last year, that we would be able to succeed in doing the exact same thing as those other leagues. I don’t know where we went wrong.”
The XFL was actually off to a pretty good start this year, with fan interest at a decent level and ticket sales somehow better than that of the Los Angeles Chargers. However, when the coronavirus brought the United States to a halt, so did it too with the XFL. With no ticket sales and not enough financial backing to support the fledgling organization, the XFL folded.
“It’s a shame that COVID-19 ruined what could have been a longer lasting organization,” commissioner Oliver Luck says. “Without the virus, who knows what would have caused the ultimate and early demise of this venture. We would only have to wait a couple more months to find out, and I was personally excited for the journey.”
Though a mainstay of the American sports world, the NFL has been the subject of scrutiny, in its handling of the Colin Kaeprnick-led protests (from both sides of the aisle), its handling of sexual and domestic abuse cases and Roger Goodell’s general incompetency. Despite all of its faults, however, the NFL has proven irreplaceable as a sports organization.
“We thought we could do something to take down the NFL,” McMahon explains. “We know others had tried, but we had the exact same business strategy, so this time I’m sure it would have worked.”
The XFL actually fared the worst of any alternative football league, shutting down after just five weeks, beating the AAF’s seven-week dash to bankruptcy.
“Well, we said we wanted to make the game faster,” Luck says. “I guess in a way we accomplished that.”
Though the XFL may be through, McMahon expressed interest in continuing to fund spring football leagues until he dies or runs out of money.