Advertisers have been slow to the table to support the newly-revived XFL league, which kicks off this weekend. Interest is finally stirring, according to ESPN and ABC, but uncertain audience engagement and the memory of past alternative pro-football league failures cast a shadow over its prospects.
“The XFL has a good chance to become a small, viable opportunity for clients based on its WWE ownership backing,” says Adam Schwartz of Horizon Media. “I don’t think the XFL will ever become the NFL, but if the product is strong, it will get viewers to watch and, perhaps, to gamble on the games [and] that will draw more viewer interest.”
Vince McMahon’s second try at the XFL announced its eight team names and logos on Wednesday. The rebooted league, which had an ill-fated attempt that lasted just one season in 2001, will begin play next February on the weekend following Super Bowl LIV.
This is the second time Vince McMahon has launched a football league. The networks will start airing its games its games when the new league starts on Feb. 8, 2020, after the NFL season ends with the Super Bowl. The first version of the XFL — a joint venture of WWE and NBC — lasted one season in 2001.
WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced Thursday he is giving a professional football league another go. It will be called the XFL, the same name of the league McMahon and NBC tried for one season in 2001, but it won’t rely on flashy cheerleaders and antics as its predecessor did, he said.