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8 Reasons Why the XFL Will Work Out This Time
The XFL is back, back again. Yes, it’s back, tell a friend. Okay, I promise that’ll be the only time I drop an Eminem-esque line in one of my posts (probably).
But really, the once-defunct XFL has been risen from the dead and starts over this weekend with a hit of the reset button.
WWE shot-caller Vince McMahon just couldn’t quit his XFL baby. It took him almost 20 years to work up the courage to give it another go, but that amount of time suggests he may have turned over every stone to make sure he gets it right.
As crazy as it sounds, I tend to think the XFL is viable this time around.
Of course, there are others who disagree, like my fellow GamblingSites.com compadre, Michael Wynn, who emphatically breaks down why the XFL will fail in a recent post. I hear most of his complaints, but there’s a lot to like here.
Let’s go over the many reasons why this time will be different and why the XFL is destined to be a success this time around.
Betting on the XFL Will Draw Interest
People have been betting on sports throughout history, but it’s become a lot easier to do so since the XFL was first around in 2001. Think back to that time for a second. It’s been a while.
I remember watching “He Hate Me” on television, but we did not have the ease of access we do now. The advances in technology across the board are pretty insane, even in just a 19-year window.
Phones, mobile devices of all kinds, television, and of course the internet have all advanced so much that the XFL is now firmly on everyone’s radar.
The XFL goes from an era of grounded, fledgling technology to an era where you have your pick of which XFL betting websites you bet at. The interest is greater than ever because the reach is better than ever.
In fact, sports betting isn’t something the XFL will shy away from.
The league won’t just embrace it, either. Rather, it will actively promote betting interest.
XFL DFS Will Be Appealing, Too
Betting on the XFL is going to bring in viewers. It will create the need for the very content I’m creating right now. And if the product is as good as advertised, it’ll spawn excitement and conversation.
Oh, and there’s also the fantasy sports aspect.
A burgeoning industry for what feels like forever, fantasy sports is no longer restricted to basement live drafts. Rather, you can play daily fantasy sports on the go from your mobile device.
Back when the XFL first started, the DFS industry wasn’t a thing yet. It didn’t really take off until 2008, while it’s only gotten bigger and bolder every year since.
DFS isn’t going anywhere. Sports betting isn’t going anywhere. The two can often work together, and they can succeed separately. They also can be independent driving forces behind the XFL’s success.
The AAF Was Working
Believe it or not, the AAF — or the Alliance of American Football — was actually a mild success story.
Yes, its main investor pulled the rug out from under the league, and in the end, it was improperly funded — but before that happened, it was working.
The AAF did it right from the ground up. The league had solid management, hired established coaches, locked in legit television contracts, assigned quality football analysts, and made sure the talent on the field wasn’t horrific.
Most expected a bad product, but the AAF actually delivered across the board and was even doing a good job in the ratings department.
Was the AAF a lock to keep progressing and maintaining viewership? No, but it was performing better than expected, and the actual product was solid.
The XFL Has a New Vision
Another big reason the XFL can succeed this time around is that they’re not just going through the motions.
League commissioner Oliver Luck has been pretty proactive about pushing the game of football in a new direction. To this point, the XFL’s message has been loud; people want to see high-flying, offensive football.
The XFL rules promote a faster game with a lot of points. If it actually delivers on that promise, it’s a refreshed vision of what football should be — at least when the NFL isn’t in season — and could be enough to keep sports fans dialed in.
Unlike the AAF, It’s Properly Funded
One of the big problems with the AAF was the league’s funding. It required a major investor to rescue them, and then when he backed out, they sunk instantly.
Not even being able to finish your first season is about as deflating as it gets.
Fortunately, Vince McMahon has done his homework, and it appears he’s funded the XFL at least enough to ensure it’ll see its way through the league’s ten regular-season games and playoff contests.
From there, nobody can know where the league goes. The obvious hope is that McMahon and the XFL are rewarded with fantastic viewer feedback, impressive ratings, and future investing from other partners.
Being in a better spot than where the AAF was is a good first step, though, and the XFL is financially more stable than it was in 2001 (we think).
The XFL Has Legit Star Talent
You can’t sell a sports product without some stars. Player marketability is a thing for leagues and sponsors for a reason; people are easily swayed by things and people that they like.
The XFL is light on superstar talent, but it’s not completely absent of it.
Former Seahawks running back Christine Michael is just one of many star players that will play in the XFL in 2020. He’s joined by Cardale Jones, Landry Jones, Rashad Ross, and others.
Those aren’t earth-shaking, household names. But they’re also not nobodies. They’re a slew of talented players who have flashed high-level ability but just haven’t had the chance to prove their worth.
The XFL offers that stage, and it could do two things at once: promote these star players to help them gain exposure (and perhaps another shot at the NFL) and convince other fringe stars to come play in the league.
It’d be a mistake if the XFL didn’t exhaust all avenues to land even bigger names, but their starting point with recognizable talent really isn’t bad.
The XFL Coaches Are Top Notch
Even if the top XFL players don’t draw you in as they stand, perhaps the legitimacy of the overall product will convince you.
No, there aren’t any Antonio Brown or Colin Kaepernick-esque stars in the XFL, but this league does have some huge names from the college football and NFL coaching realms.
Bob Stoops is a living college legend, Marc Trestman won three Grey Cups in the CFL, and Kevin Gilbride won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.
The XFL only has eight teams at the moment, but they’re all led by largely offensive-minded coaches who will preach big plays and winning. That could ensure the XFL product is a lot better than people seem to think it will be.
The XFL Doesn’t Need to Be the NFL
One other thing is the fact that the XFL does not need to come anywhere close to the NFL’s level to be deemed a success. The XFL probably isn’t trying to, either.
Instead, the XFL just needs to fend off an otherwise slow-moving sports season during the NFL off-season. It’ll still have to compete with the likes of the NBA, golf, hockey, the return of baseball, and the NFL Draft season, of course.
All of that could be a problem, but die-hard football fans get an underrated product on their TVs for three months. Provided the coaching and talent lives up to (or preferably exceeds) expectations, there will be eyes on the XFL, and it’ll make money.
The NFL is insanely popular, and even when ratings take a hit, it’s still dominating most programs when it’s on. People like pro football for a lot of different reasons, and those same reasons will get viewers to at least give the XFL a chance.
Whether the XFL serves as an alternative sports option or an NFL launching pad for desperate players doesn’t really matter. It just needs to be good, and it needs to be profitable.
The XFL of 2001 was a failure, largely because it was ahead of its time. It’s been tentatively proven that there is a market for pro football after the NFL season ends.
It’s up to the XFL to prove that right, however.
The product looks good on paper. Vince McMahon has it funded, the coaching is where it should be, the new rules could make it exciting, and players working to improve their football status could make for a competitive, exciting atmosphere.
All of that at least gives the XFL a chance. The league probably needs to land more investors and big-name players to truly be sustainable, but their reboot has a lot more promise than anyone initially expected.