Saturday, October 24, 2020

XFL: Is the league shutdown for real?

Yesterday, multiple outlets, including The Sports Despatch, announced that the rebooted XFL had fired all staff and closed their doors. You can read that here.

Why has the XFL come to an end?

The 2020 season, which was the inaugural season of the rebooted league, was cancelled in accordance with the rest of the world of sport.

Obviously COVID-19 has had a quite dramatic effect on the world as a whole, not just sports. The XFL were left with no choice but to end the 2020 season after just five weeks.

The issue that brings is that the league loses out on a lot of revenue. Think of all the money they’ll have had to pay back to broadcasters, fans and the likes due to the season being finished early.

As well as that, they of course don’t get the revenue from ticket sales that they would have done for the remaining five regular season weeks and then the play off games.

What’s weird is that, when the league announced they were calling time on the rest of the 2020 season, they made it clear that this was COVID-19 enforced and they would definitely be back in 2021 – so what’s changed?

Well, so far the XFL is yet to comment on all of this at all. The news came from the hoards of league staffers who were told in a conference call with Jeffrey Pollack yesterday that they were being laid off.

What many of them said was that it “didn’t look like” they would be called back or that the XFL has “no plans” for 2021. We’ve had no official word from any official source that the XFL is done for good, but it certainly looks that way.

Whatever happened to the three years of funding?

When the XFL was launched, we were told there was no way the league would call it quits so early because they had three years worth of funding ready and waiting to be used – so we’d get three seasons at least.

So, what happened to that? What’s changed so much that all three years worth of funding has just simply disappeared?

Well, in fact the report had actually stated that Vince McMahon was “prepared to lose $375m in the first three years” of the new XFL.

Now, this is only speculation, but the sheer drop in revenue that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased that figure exponentially and Vince McMahon has decided to cut his losses now to avoid more damage than is necessary.

To be honest, if that is the case then I don’t for one second blame Vince for shutting the league down at all… if that is indeed what has happened.

Is there a glimmer of hope?

Well, if you want me to grasp at straws, I’d say the fact that XFL hasn’t fired everyone and is still running a skeleton crew at the league HQ is a potentially positive sign.

It could be that Vince is merely trying to exploit some kind of loophole by laying off staff, only to rehire them in a few months time to save a hell of a lot of money in wages.

As well as that, the fact that every major outlet in the sporting world has reported this news but the XFL haven’t said a word is a good sign. Last year when the AAF went down the pan, the league confirmed it relatively quickly.

Could the tweet below be a subtle confirmation of the news? Or is it just the admin saying goodbye? That’s for you to decide…

To be honest, I don’t see the XFL coming back. The reports all state that there are “no plans” for 2021 and to me, that is all the indication I need to give up hope. It’s a shame too, unlike the AAF, the XFL was actually pretty good.

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