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ozzyman314

The XFL may be making a comeback

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43 minutes ago, jc... said:

 

You guys need to get with the program! This is how I watch! 

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Impressive!

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2 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

Are you kidding?  This very board has a fantasy lacrosse league, fer Chrissakes.  Fantasy XFL will be a serious revenue stream for them; something they couldn't have even contemplated 20 years ago.

 

You’ll have to first show that this fantasy lacrosse league is a serious revenue stream.

 

There are plenty of people who post concept designs on boards like this, after all.  Doesn’t mean there’s real money in it. 

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Directly?  Maybe, maybe not.

 

But if I can leverage the fact that 1,000 schmucks are playing XFL fantasy football into one corporate sponsorship of its website?  I've just generated revenue from it that I wouldn't have otherwise.

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5 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

Directly?  Maybe, maybe not.

 

But if I can leverage the fact that 1,000 schmucks are playing XFL fantasy football into one corporate sponsorship of its website?  I've just generated revenue from it that I wouldn't have otherwise.

 

True.   But you’ve also incurred costs you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

 

You’ll need infrastructure, a site where they can play.  Now, it’s probably cheaper to license something already out there rather than build new, but that’s still an expense. So’s the maintenance required to keep it up, because your players will freak if it goes down even for mere minutes.

 

It'll take more than your thousand schmucks to generate worthwhile profits on any fantasy site.  

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Everything about this, from the potential television audience to the hypothetical fantasy league Vince himself hasn't even mentioned all hinge on the "if they can get a certain percentage of [INSERT LEADING BRAND HERE]'s audience they'll make money” argument. 

Those plans never work out.

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30 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

Everything about this, from the potential television audience to the hypothetical fantasy league Vince himself hasn't even mentioned all hinge on the "if they can get a certain percentage of [INSERT LEADING BRAND HERE]'s audience they'll make money."

Those plans never work out.

 

And that brings me back to the question that I started with; what is the market void that needs to be filled?  That’s the single most important factor, and the lack of identifiable void is what’s doomed every start-up league since 1960.

 

McMahon hasn’t said what the market is, other than vague appeals to racist grievances.  And everything suggested here is nibbling around the edges of an existing business rather than identifying a market of its own.  That’s hardly a recipe for success.  

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10 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

McMahon hasn’t said what the market is, other than vague appeals to racist grievances.  That’s hardly a recipe for success.  

 

We have a man who won a four year job as President of the United States doing the same thing.

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26 minutes ago, Mac the Knife said:

 

We have a man who won a four year job as President of the United States doing the same thing.

 

True.  But he never had more than niche appeal.  Trump couldn’t win the popular vote, and I don’t see how McMahon’s model is sustainable.

 

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Some of the market will just be football fans. If they're playing in the spring they don't need to "steal" fans away from the NFL. They just need NFL fans to also turn on their Television streaming devices during XFL season. People watch random college football between two teams they don't care or know anything about. I think that's the audience for the XFL. Sports fans who don't care about march madness, Stanley Cup playoffs, NBA playoffs or the first half of the baseball season. Who knows how many people like that exist. 

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7 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

Who knows how many people like that exist. 

 

Not enough, if we can draw any conclusions from the last incarnation of the XFL.  

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1 hour ago, Gothamite said:

 

True.  But he never had more than niche appeal.  Trump couldn’t win the popular vote, and I don’t see how McMahon’s model is sustainable.

 

 

65 million people does not a niche make.  If McMahon can turn a third of those into regular XFL fans?  He's succeeded.  I'm not saying he can do it.  But in a nation of 320 million (or whatever the actual number is) Americans, at a time when 1/5th of that number can get you elected president (popular vote win or not)?  1/30th of that number as a consistent, even cumulative weekly television rating, would translate into a billion a year in television revenue come 2023.

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2 hours ago, McCarthy said:

Some of the market will just be football fans. If they're playing in the spring they don't need to "steal" fans away from the NFL. They just need NFL fans to also turn on their Television streaming devices during XFL season. People watch random college football between two teams they don't care or know anything about. I think that's the audience for the XFL. Sports fans who don't care about march madness, Stanley Cup playoffs, NBA playoffs or the first half of the baseball season. Who knows how many people like that exist. 

Sometimes it feels like the "just give me football of any kind and I'll watch fan" is not as prevalent as in years past.  Arena football peaked a long time ago. People are burned out on Thursday Night Football.  

 

Football's still very popular, but the NFL's big eyes (overseas, Thursdays, 18-game discussion, etc.) were not me with the same "FOOTBALL!!!" enthusiasm I'd have expected 15 years ago.  Part of me wonders whether fans just want this time of year to have a break from football.

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The most important thing is to make an entertaining TV product. If he does that, then I think he has a pretty good shot of finding an audience. The Pro Bowl outdraws how many other sporting events? It's awful to watch.

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1 hour ago, OnWis97 said:

Sometimes it feels like the "just give me football of any kind and I'll watch fan" is not as prevalent as in years past.  Arena football peaked a long time ago. People are burned out on Thursday Night Football.  

 

Football's still very popular, but the NFL's big eyes (overseas, Thursdays, 18-game discussion, etc.) were not me with the same "FOOTBALL!!!" enthusiasm I'd have expected 15 years ago.  Part of me wonders whether fans just want this time of year to have a break from football.

 

yeah people need a break and that's why I think it would be silly of the XFL to start the season in February. It's the same reason you can't eat Pizza for every single meal. This is part of my theory why Nascar has fallen off - the season is so damn long it basically doesn't end. It's oversaturation. The other problem the XFL has is football is losing viewers because of the danger of the sport. The original XFL tried to upsell the danger of their game. Football kind of feels like the worst sport to get involved in right now. 

 

If I was Vince I'd wait at least until mid march to start Week 1 and then try to schedule everything so it concludes with a big spectacle of a championship on Fourth of July weekend. 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

Sometimes it feels like the "just give me football of any kind and I'll watch fan" is not as prevalent as in years past.  Arena football peaked a long time ago. People are burned out on Thursday Night Football.  

 

Football's still very popular, but the NFL's big eyes (overseas, Thursdays, 18-game discussion, etc.) were not me with the same "FOOTBALL!!!" enthusiasm I'd have expected 15 years ago.  Part of me wonders whether fans just want this time of year to have a break from football.

 

I believe the majority of the "just give me football of any kind and I'll watch fan" demographic is in the 15-30 (maybe 15-25) age range, which may or may not be a good thing for Vince.

 

Personally, I watched the USFL frequently (I was 16-18 from 1983-85) and would watch just about any college basketball I could find from age 14-25ish.  However, once life caught up with me (job, marriage, children), that level of engagement died off substantially and, based on discussions with friends, did so for my peers as well.  I think most people just don't have the time or energy to sustain that level of attention.

 

On the other hand, my son is 16 and can't get enough of football (NFL first, but a fair amount of college) and the NBA.  I fully expect that will continue through college and his early 20s.  The primary questions in terms of building an XFL fanbase are whether (a) that enthusiasm will translate into Vince's brand of football and (b) whether it will last.  The other wildcard is, as we discussed above, his viewing habits are different than mine ever were because he has grown up in the RedZone/social media/streaming coverage and highlights era.  The answers to these questions are important to this discussion and all of us are just guessing what the answers will be.

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2 hours ago, McCarthy said:

 

yeah people need a break and that's why I think it would be silly of the XFL to start the season in February. It's the same reason you can't eat Pizza for every single meal. This is part of my theory why Nascar has fallen off - the season is so damn long it basically doesn't end. It's oversaturation. The other problem the XFL has is football is losing viewers because of the danger of the sport. The original XFL tried to upsell the danger of their game. Football kind of feels like the worst sport to get involved in right now. 

 

If I was Vince I'd wait at least until mid march to start Week 1 and then try to schedule everything so it concludes with a big spectacle of a championship on Fourth of July weekend. 

 

 

 

Vince stated he wanted to start the season in January. Which isn’t even post-Super Bowl. 

 

Things can still change in two years, but Vince’s idea for a “not quite spring league” may need some tweaking. 

 

4 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

Sometimes it feels like the "just give me football of any kind and I'll watch fan" is not as prevalent as in years past. 

I have to question if it’s ever been there. Maybe the USFL could have cultivated an audience for NFL Offseason football had they stayed the course in the spring, but they didn’t. 

 

The first XFL proved that fans won’t watch sub-par pro football, regardless of how you dress it up. I’m not sure what’s changed to indicate they maybe will this time. 

 

5 hours ago, Mac the Knife said:

65 million people does not a niche make.  If McMahon can turn a third of those into regular XFL fans?  He's succeeded. 

This is the same argument every other start-up league since the NFL-AFL merger has trotted out and it never pans out. 

 

The news about declining NFL ratings and boycotts over anthem protests are the songs of sirens, and Vince is the sailor, about to crash on the rocks.

The supposed “lost” NFL fan doesn’t exist in large enough numbers to make an “alternative” viable. 

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The January/February thing is a HUGE red flag for me. Didn't Vince also say no domes? The ticket revenue is probably going to be a big deal for this league, and who in the hell is going to pay to see the first games of a nothing league during the coldest part of the year? Even in Florida, they probably think it's "cold" if the high is in the 60s. For the northern 2/3 of the country, it's a nonstarter to play that early. I'd probably start with 8 or 10 regular season games in mid-April.

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8 hours ago, Cosmic said:

The January/February thing is a HUGE red flag for me. Didn't Vince also say no domes? The ticket revenue is probably going to be a big deal for this league, and who in the hell is going to pay to see the first games of a nothing league during the coldest part of the year? Even in Florida, they probably think it's "cold" if the high is in the 60s. For the northern 2/3 of the country, it's a nonstarter to play that early. I'd probably start with 8 or 10 regular season games in mid-April.

 

XFL did fairly well with ticket sales in 2001 playing in February. If the XFL is going after the 'can't/won't pay NFL prices' fans, they're going to be in the $20-$30 range. At 20k-30k per game paid, That's only $25 million in ticket revenue. Now, if they stagger prices and what not, you do lose some of the 'television backdrop' if too many go for the cheap seats. That was part of the 2001 XFL's angle was that, as far as I remember, all tickets were the same price in the stadium. It also meant almost everyone sat down low to the field almost always (and for the title game, they did put as many fans on the TV side as possible unless someone specifically requested a section on the other side).

 

As for domes, I haven't heard anything about it. XFL 1.0 had a rule against turf. But, for XFL 2.0, it's clear they're going to have to accept turf (and by extension, domes) depending on the markets. Too many major stadiums now use turf.

 

 

 

 

What's funny about the XFL, is that even it's lowest rating around Week 6 or 7 was still a profitable range. The problem was NBC knew they could piece it out with shows and bring in higher numbers on average. UPN was ecstatic with their ratings. Even late in the season. The XFL did see an uptick the last couple weeks of the regular season, playoff weekend, and Million Dollar Game was a 2.1.

 

 

The difference between 2001 and today is that live sports means live audience. Very few DVR live sports unless absolutely cannot watch live. This is huge for advertisers. 2001 didn't have such concerns. This ups the revenue from commercials greatly for live sports. You see every streaming service clamoring for 'live sports' because they are still appointment viewing.

 

What's sad about the XFL 1.0 is they had two things they really screwed up themselves, and a few moments of bad luck.

 

1. After the first week (9.5 rating) they still got a 4.6 in Week 2. I think people forget XFL was aiming for 3.0 ratings as their high for the season, averaging around 2.5 for first year. They knew there'd be initial interest, but 9.5 and even 4.6 floored them. SportsCenter even had to play them straight Week 2 simply because you can't ignore a 9.5 rating no matter what the product. But that second game was the infamous 'generator fuel fiasco' where the production truck lost power, there was dead air for a long time, before they could get NB to make the switch to the B game. This just added to the 'rinky-dink' aspect of the league.

 

2. The best 'nationally televised' game of the year so far ran late and into double overtime which interfered with SNL. A huge no-no, and you know NBC didn't side with the XFL. Even with that glitzy 4.6 rating in Week 2.

 

What's worse, though, was that the first game was a dud. New York was not a good team. Not only were they listless, their QB goes down. They're trailing 19-0 at halftime. Meanwhile, Orlando-Chicago ended up as a 33-29 'thriller'. The problem was that despite having an A and B game, the B game never aired anywhere except during interludes of the national broadcasted game.

 

And Orlando was the best team in the regular season, and the first two weeks, they're the B game on NBC.  What's worse, was Week One had these games:

 

Memphis 22, Birmingham 20

San Francisco 15, Los Angeles 13

Orlando 33, Chicago 29

 

and...

Las Vegas 19, New York/New Jersey 0

 

 

And which one was the national, kickoff game?

 

Next week they got the best game on TV, but those flubs mentioned earlier killed them. That's when they instituted the Heidi rules. The games MUST end before 11pm. The league had to retool some game mechanics in order to make sure to speed up games. But, by Week 7, NBC had given up on the league. Publicly siding with SNL did that. And the Las Vegas-Birmingham game ran long and they ended the broadcast with a few minutes left. It was one-sided (34-12), but to just stop broadcasting a game during the middle of a drive? Just unheard of for televised sports. You don't even see that with high school sports that are televised usually.

 

Then two more things 'did them in'. Orlando was the best team in the league the league had a 'crossover' playoff. East #1 hosted West #2. This meant Orlando had to host San Francisco, a team rising at the end of the season, instead of East #2 Chicago. At the time, Orlando played at Chicago in Week 10, in a game Chicago HAD to win to make the playoffs. While Orlando was assured the #1 spot in the east and overall record. So, they skated through it. Had they had to play Chicago a third time if they lost, I think they would've gone into Chicago to win it instead of resting.

 

And then, LA wins and San Francisco upsets Orlando. And instead of a game Orlando or San Francisco, you get a title game in Los Angeles. Probably the least interesting matchup possible in the deadest stadium in the league. Before a really small crowd (by XFL and title game standards).

 

And yet through all that, UPN wanted to bring them back for Season 2 as the primary broadcaster. NBC was out because it's not like NBC was going to co-own a league and then not air it. And they certainly weren't looking for Saturday or Sunday afternoon games.

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4 hours ago, Sykotyk said:

1. After the first week (9.5 rating) they still got a 4.6 in Week 2. I think people forget XFL was aiming for 3.0 ratings as their high for the season, averaging around 2.5 for first year. They knew there'd be initial interest, but 9.5 and even 4.6 floored them. SportsCenter even had to play them straight Week 2 simply because you can't ignore a 9.5 rating no matter what the product. But that second game was the infamous 'generator fuel fiasco' where the production truck lost power, there was dead air for a long time, before they could get NB to make the switch to the B game. This just added to the 'rinky-dink' aspect of the league.

 

 

I don't think you can discount this. XFL was killed constantly by all media, particularly sports media. It was never treated as a legitimate sports league (in part because it didn't treat itself as legitimate), but national media was not kind to XFL at all.

 

There seems to be more a willingness to take it on this time around, even if as a nostalgic curiosity. Everyone needs #content, and XFL is definitely that.

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6 hours ago, Sykotyk said:

What's funny about the XFL, is that even it's lowest rating around Week 6 or 7 was still a profitable range. The problem was NBC knew they could piece it out with shows and bring in higher numbers on average. UPN was ecstatic with their ratings.

 

And yet through all that, UPN wanted to bring them back for Season 2 as the primary broadcaster. NBC was out because it's not like NBC was going to co-own a league and then not air it. And they certainly weren't looking for Saturday or Sunday afternoon games.

 

Poor, poor UPN. 

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