When Vince McMahon announced he was bringing back the XFL, a lot of people rolled their eyes. It failed after one season in 2001, why try again?
What caught my attention was the fact McMahon was putting a lot of his own money behind this effort and hiring good football people to run it. Oliver Luck is not some wrestlemania exec who will try to "figure out" football. He's a football guy who will try to figure out how to put a good product on the field.
Clue number 1 to me that this was going to be different and probably have a better chance of success: they weren't trying to rush the league onto the field in a year. The AAF is doing that and while I've been impressed with what they've pulled off, it remains to be seen whether that league will have a compelling product. (I'll get back to them in a bit)
Luck and the XFL are taking some time to try to get this right. They're doing field tests of various changes to the game for safety and to make it more entertaining. It's like testing any product before taking it to market. I'm not sure anyone has done this kind of thing before with a sport. Maybe they all have, but I haven't heard of it before.
This week when they announced the 8 cities that will get teams, there was a leak of the information and some mildly incorrect information too. The XFL goofed on their website and did, apparently, accidentally spill the beans on which cities would get teams. Other speculation was wrong about where the teams would play. The suggestion was made that they'd mostly play in MLS stadiums. While some will, most will not.
The one that caught my attention was the "Dallas" team that will actually play 30 miles away in Arlington at the current home of the Texas Rangers. I'm not sure how well this will work, but it was a big deal because everyone had expected the Rangers to turn the old ballpark into something other than a working sports stadium. Instead, they're going to transition the baseball stadium into a working football stadium. They'll have to take out the visitors dugout and some seats, but they won't have to do too much to get the football field down. But more importantly, it looks like the XFL has partnered with the Texas Rangers on running the "Dallas" team. In addition to the stadium, it appears the Rangers will handle PR and marketing of the team. That's a smart move. And if the XFL can find ways to do that in some of the 7 other cities, they will find more success than if they just went out and hired their own people do start from scratch.
One thing that I wonder: the AAF starts in a few months in 8 cities and the XFL starts in a year and a few months in 8 other cities. The folks running the AAF have ties to the old XFL. The new XFL has a lot of McMahon's money behind it. The AAF has a TV deal and seems to be in decent shape. I'm sure the XFL will get a TV deal since they put their teams in the largest TV markets. By the way, I'm betting on Fox Sports getting the rights to it with games primarily on FS1 and FS2. (they really need content there)
Love to know what others think.