The Alliance of American Football isn’t officially gone, but it feels like only a matter of time before it’s announced that the suspension of operations has become a termination of the business. The XFL has issued a statement regarding Tuesday’s developments.
“We have said all along the success or failure of other leagues will have no impact on our ability to deliver high-quality, fast-paced, professional football,” the league owned and operating by Vince McMahon said, via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal. “The XFL is well-funded, we have time before kick-off to execute our business plan, and we will soon announce a national broadcast and cable TV schedule that makes it easy for fans to find our games consistently every weekend when we launch next February. There is no doubt that avid football fans want more and we’re excited to get going in 2020.”
The funding ultimately is the key, and the XFL apparently has it. (The AAF did, until it didn’t.) The question is whether McMahon will remain patient through the inevitably lean year(s), as the XFL tries to develop a footing.
The real question is whether the XFL can hold on until legalized gambling develops to the point where the vast majority of Americans: (1) can quickly and easily bet on sports; (2) want more football on which to bet; and (3) have at their disposal the ability to place real-time in-game betting. That’s the key to making an alternative football league viable.
Making the task easier for the XFL will be the lack of competition — unless and until another alternative league tries to enter the space. Still, the question is whether XFL 2.0 can ultimately fare any better than AAF 1.0. Or XFL 1.0.
At least XFL 1.0 lasted long enough to crown a champion.