A year ago, we at Beacon of Speech wrote about Vince McMahon's idea of a new football league. It was an intriguing idea, maybe McMahon would learn from his past mistakes. Almost immediately, the NFL announced that they were creating a new spring league, too. They tried to avoid the term "Minor" league. They talked to their marketing geniuses and came up with terms like "Complimentary" league or "Developmental" league.
So right from the get go, McMahon had the advantage. The NFL may have the money, but the new XFL had the swagger. Well, until today. Today the XFL failed. ALREADY. How in the world did they do that without playing a game? Let me tell you how. Today they announced their markets:
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
St. Louis, MO
Tampa Bay, FL
Instead of going to markets that were thirsty for football, they mostly went to markets SATURATED with football.
If you go to News Generation, they list these cities as the Top 10 Largest Media Markets in America.
(13) Tampa Bay
(21) St. Louis
So basically, with the exception of St. Louis, McMahon decided to focus on where the TV eyeballs existed. Which is great, if you're promoting wrestling. Again, "coincidentally," the NFL announced their AAF cities and some of their seed players. Here's the AAF lineup:
Salt Lake Stallions
San Antonio Commanders
San Diego Fleet
Somehow the NFL got it right. They chose smaller markets that longed for football. The most galling example is the San Diego Fleet. After ripping the Chargers from San Diego, you'd think the last thing the city government would want to do is get back into bed with the NFL. Nope.
SDCCU Stadium in San Diego wasn't good enough for the Chargers, so they moved to Los Angeles.
Literally one year later, SDCCU is plenty good enough for Spring Football in the form of the Fleet.
The NFL wins again.....
Just one minute. There is still a long shot way that McMahon can pull this one out of the flames.
Mark this down. If Vince McMahon decides to televise his football on an obscure channel like beIN Sports or AT&T SportsNet, that league will be dead on arrival.
If McMahon can get ahead of the curve and get on a streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime, he can still change the way that the next generation views sports.
Is Vince McMahon that smart? Guiding the WWE through a changing entertainment landscape? Absolutely. Making professional football a transcendent sport not exclusively an NFL product.
Eh, let's be generous and say that "time will tell."