Being an XFL fan this year has been a wild ride. Many fans were left with uncertainty wondering if the league would come back after the termination by its owner, Vince McMahon. Many rumors of big corporations looking to buy it such as ESPN and Disney gave us hope for the time being.
With recent news coming out earlier this week, it’s evident that the XFL will be back soon. Dwayne “ The Rock” Johnson, along with Dany Garcia and Red Bird Capital purchased the XFL for $15 million yesterday. This move comes in a week before the actual bidding for the league was supposed to start. Here’s a statement from The Rock about his future endeavors with the league:
With my trail blazing partner @DanyGarciaCo & Red Bird Capital, we have acquired the XFL.
With gratitude & passion I’ve built a career with my own two hands and will apply these callouses to our @xfl2020 brand.
Excited to create something special for the fans! #XFL #fullcircle pic.twitter.com/LprJ6HjglD
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 3, 2020
XFL Season Recap
The rebirth of the XFL got off to a fast start at the beginning of this year. Millions of fans watched every week and the attendance numbers were better than expected. The new rules and interactive interviews after big plays became a staple for the league. However, halfway through the regular season, things would turn for the worst.
With the concerns of COVID -19 ramping up, the XFL canceled the rest of their season in March. While fans were looking forward to next season, McMahon dropped a bomb on everybody announcing that he was terminating the league in April. McMahon seemed to be the biggest loser, spending up to more than $100 million that he pumped into the league.
Fans that were just getting accustomed to this league would have their hearts ripped out due to the news. Players of the teams who were looking to make money and bounce back to the NFL had to figure out other avenues to make due. Oliver Luck, who partnered with McMahon, ended up suing him for wrongful termination of the league.
During this time, many players moved on and went to play elsewhere. Big names such as P.J Walker, Jordan Ta’amu and Shawn Oakman ended up leaving to sign contracts with the NFL and CFL.
Safety Kenny Robinson ended up becoming the only player to be drafted from the league(5th Round Pick-Carolina).
In total, 15 players ended up signing elsewhere. It won’t be easy to replace that talent that departed from the league but it allows other players opportunities to become the face of the league as well. Thousands of players every year end up not making it onto a roster at a professional level so the pool of talent is vast. It will be interesting to see who the XFL will go after and sign in the near future.
Where Does The XFL Go From Here
One big question is how effective will the Rock and his team be at handling the league’s marketing and branding? The Rock is a brand by himself and many people are fans of him. From movies, to WWE and to the sports and health industry, it should be easy for his millions of followers on social media to become attracted to the idea of a league run by him ( 14.7 million on Twitter & 192 million on Instagram).
Merchandising, sponsorship and advertising are a couple of aspects that will need to be addressed for XFL 3.0. For example, The Rock is an Under Armour athlete and signed an endorsement deal over three years ago. The Rock convincing Under Armour to endorse the league would be huge. If Under Armour becomes the new official uniform maker of the XFL, it could cause an increase in jersey sales, clothing, products, etc.
A decent amount of fans believed that the jerseys this season were too generic and plain. Therefore, it would be interesting to see what the design teams of UA can come up with. Alternate helmets and uniforms would also give some variety and flair to the league as well.
Commercials and advertising will be a must as well. With the college football and NFL season underway in a few weeks’ time, the new owners should create advertisements that will play during these games. Big games such as the NCAA Championship Game and the Super Bowl would be perfect advertising slots for them. However, there is a problem that no one hasn’t been brought up yet.
The biggest obstacle for the XFL reboot is getting fans and players back on board. Players who were a part of the league might not want to play again for a league in rebuilding mode. Fans will have trouble trusting a league that has canceled in its first seasons twice over. However, there’s plenty of people on both sides who just want to play and watch football. Therefore, as long as there’s a product and it produces, people will gravitate back to the league in no time.
In conclusion, the XFL will be looking to be back in the spring of 2021. It will be interesting to see if this new ownership team can succeed where its previous owners failed. As the saying goes, the third time’s the charm.