Will football fans embrace the XFL?

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Football fans like the idea of more football. But do they really want more football? The next experiment begins in only two days.

The XFL is back, after a 19-year absence. Fueled by the reality that people who will be placing legal sports wagers will need more sports on which to wager plus an investment of many, many monies from Vince McMahon, the thinking is that, this time around, the XFL will last more than one season. But will it last more than two?

It already has more promise than the AAF, which debuted with strong ratings on CBS last year but fizzled as games were televised by lesser platforms (and imploded because there never was enough cash). XFL games will be televised by ESPN/ABC and FOX, networks that seem poised to push the veal aggressively to a built-in audience that could reconfirm the Dalrymple-to-Costanza “‘Why am I watching it? . . . ‘Because it’s on TV‘” truism.

Frankly, some consumers may see through the effort to force feed more football to an audience that has no problem with a pivot to hockey or hoops or trash-can-banging hardball, and that will resist watching the XFL. Others may react the way I did in 1983, when the USFL launched and I was excited for it until I actually tried to watch a game in March and conceded, “I’m not interested in football in March.”

It makes much more sense for more football to be dropped into football season, ideally on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. But McMahon, ESPN/ABC, and FOX will be doing what they can to get us to watch, to care, to gamble, and to ultimately help the league generate enough revenue to justify an existence that extends beyond 2021.

I’m not skeptical. I’m pragmatic. Spring football hasn’t worked. There’s no reason to think it suddenly will, especially without star players like Johnny Manziel or Colin Kaepernick or college players like Trevor Lawrence who can’t enter the draft until 2021.

We’ll write stories and record videos about XFL games and developments. And we’ll see in teal time whether you consume the content that we bring to the table. If you do, you’ll get more of it. If you don’t, it will tell us everything we need to know regarding whether the XFL will turn a profit or become a gigantic tax write-off for a billionaire who had a bright idea 20 years ago and now wants to give it another try.

111 responses to “Will football fans embrace the XFL?

  1. I’m all in … for the start but that could change if it starts to show it’s self as a poor product.

  2. I’m not interested. I sat around all weekend since September watching both college and pro football and while I enjoyed it, l I think had enough for now

  3. You know what’s more interesting than the XFL? The scouting combine. Free agency. The draft. Mini-camps. OTAs. Watching paint dry.

  4. I loved the USFL. Give me that caliber of football in the spring, again, and yes, I’ll watch it.

  5. Many will give it a fair chance but the quality is going to make all the difference..
    With the NFL becoming more watered down with each passing season, it is growing closer to becoming glad football… If the XFL cuts out the many nit-picky foolish rules and let them just play ball, the fan base will grow rapidly!

  6. Of course I’ll have it on, along with a computer or two.
    Actual watching will depend on which screen has my attention.

  7. As long as the NFL officiating remains a fiasco, and XFL is decent football with officiating controversy. I think it will survive. Maybe not thrive but survive.

  8. XFL will be a poor product.
    Interest will be over by halftime of the first week.
    There will be no season 2.

  9. it could work but theyve done a terrible job at getting star power. The best theyve got is pat mcafeee and his podcast audience but thats not going to translate to television well. they need stars, specifically players, you could put on a commercial and get TV watchers interested. I think if they wouldve convinced Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts to take a huge check and square up week 1 that wouldve made a great promotion. But instead theyre going with Landry Jones and Aaron Murray.

  10. No. After the Superbowl is done I kind of like having my Sunday’s back. I have a list of home and property things that’s as long as my… Well, it’s really long.

  11. I cannot stand Vince McMahon. He is another version of Don King, a lying phony who uses people and then throws them in the dumpster.
    So for me, I am leery of anything he has anything to do with. But — I will give this league a shot and see for myself. If it’s more substance than WWE-type glitz, I’ll watch.
    But I won’t hold my breath.

  12. I’ll give it a shot. It all depends on what the product on the field looks like. No extra points and a few of the other rules are intriguing so I’m willing to watch it play out before giving it the yay or nay.

  13. Oh — one more thing…. If the XFL has Johnny Manziel and Colin Kaepernick in it, I refuse to watch it at all.
    Neither one of those two are anyone I want to watch do anything.

  14. Probably not but who knows, let’s see.

    The issue they’ll have is that anyone who wants to watch football already does and is already invested in a team. Driving people to support new teams is no mean feet.
    I hope it works out but realistically I don’t think the chances are that high. It’s incredibly hard to gain market share over a monopoly like the NFL

  15. I very much wanted to watch the AAFL but not a single game could be watched in my market without paying extra. They doomed themselves from the start with that move.

    So, I’m game to give the XFL a go… right up until the very first moment I’m asked to pay to watch it.

  16. I”ll try it out, but basically since it will likely be akin to watching AA minor league baseball, I’m not super optimistic. All depends on the quality of play.

  17. I will likely be attending some roughnecks games but mostly only because I have a parking pass for the garage right next to TDECU stadium.

  18. I’m going to give it a watch this Saturday. Houston and LA. You know, it wasn’t the move to lower TV platforms that killed the AAF. It was the lower quality football. And, I don’t think me, or anyone else, will watch long term if it’s just a bad product.

  19. I’m curious for sure. But it’s a bit of a pain to get to Audi Field from where we live to see the DC team. Also, weather.

    But tickets are cheap so why not?

  20. I think it can be embraced but they are going to need to put a compelling product on the field. Start signing the best practice squad type players at salaries better than practice squads. Expand slowly for a couple years and when the timing is right start signing some of the top prospects from college and pay them significantly more money than NFL rookie contracts pay. Those NFL rookie contracts could potentially be the NFL’s weak link if the XFL wants to eventually compete with them.

  21. cobrala2 says:
    February 6, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Two days?
    Has anyone been seeing XFL commercials anywhere?


    Good point. I haven’t seen a single XFL commercial. Seems they coulda capitalized on the exposure of the Super Bowl and ran atleast 1 ad.

  22. As long as Vince McMahon understands that nobody wants a WWE version of football, the XFL should work. Unlike the now defunct AAF, McMahon has already done this and failed once, so he should know what football fans want this time around. I’ll give it a shot.

  23. If it’s recognizable names, then many will give it a try. If it’s a bunch of unknowns, then it’s Canadian FB. I watched the USFL because many players were very well known, and pretty good FB at that.

  24. I know I will, if memory serves correctly the AAF had solid ratings after a while, and what with football still being the most popular sport in the US I’m expecting the same from the new XFL. Considering McMahon has already put down enough money upfront to keep the league running for at least 3 years and has hired experienced football minds to run the show it seems like he learned his lesson from last time and is taking this seriously. Here’s hoping it works out well because a spring football league market is wide open for the taking.

  25. It’s amazing what Vince can’t see right in front of him. He nearly went bankrupt when WCW Nitro went head to head with his Monday Night Raw and whooped him in the ratings for 2 years. You would think Vince would apply that HEAD-TO HEAD logic to football. And while you obviously wouldn’t survive on Sundays, there is a BIG opening on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And maybe even Fridays.

    You should be airing in the fall, Vince.

  26. Football fans need to be emotionally invested to fully support a league. If your home state has no XFL team you are likely not going to become emotionally invested in the XFL.

    The league will need to grow and expand to having a team in most states like the NFL or it will never have mass appeal.

    The question is can the XFL survive long enough to be able to expand and gain fan bases in nearly every state like the NFL? We shall see.

  27. I’ll give a shot. Vince took his time setting up the league this time. Put rules in place to speed up the pace of the games. And he went out and got a legit football guy to be the commissioner. Plus the season fills the gap between the Super Bowl and the draft.

  28. I can never get enough football…I watch college all day on Saturdays and NFL on Sundays….True football fans will watch…its just the rest of you that wont…..

  29. Football was more popular when they tried this the first time with a deeper talent pool. Now we have less kids playing so the talent pool isn’t what it once was. High Schools are cutting their programs all over the country (outside of Texas of course) and less parents are allowing their kids to play.

    Also who wants to go to a game in February? The cold cities won’t get anyone wanting to pay much to watch a game in freezing weather. Also think of the average family. You think you can your wife after taking up 3 months of weekends to allow you sit and watch more?

    America loves the NFL. College ratings have been dropping and only the big games get any kind of ratings. If you don’t have the stars and great QB play you won’t ever get the average fan. Without the average fan you can’t have this national league that can afford to play in stadiums and fly around the country. Build your brand locally in the south where they love their football and will know the guys from college. Once you start gaining traction you can expand, you know like every other sports league started.

  30. I’ll give it a shot, but I know it’s minor-league football at best. Let’s face it: if the players were good, they’d be in the NFL. Hopefully the games will be entertaining, and that might be enough to hold one’s interest. The key, I think, will be to give the league time to grow and for the public to decide if it likes the XFL or not. Cash flow and TV ratings will tell the tale. Spring football has always seemed like an anomaly to me, so I don’t have high hopes for long-term success for the XFL. Maybe they’ll surprise me and catch on. (If the Masked Singer can become popular, I guess anything can.) Good luck to the league. Let’s see what happens.

  31. Meh, it’s a seasonal thing with sports and all year watching/playing the same thing sucks. Sure it’s what pay-to-play coaches want in youth sports but it’s not right.

  32. I thought the AAF should have hired Mike Mayock for the TV booth. He’d have the information necessary to reach the target audience. It’s not the same audience as the NFL. These are the Draftniks and wannabe GM’s. The people who are GM’s in their Fantasy Football leagues. They want to know about the individual players, and what they need to do to become NFL players. The announcers for the AAF had no idea. I love Marvin Lewis, but he put me to sleep explaining Cover 2. This is not that audience. Even someone like a Mike Lombardi or even Scot McCloughan. Guys that know the kids. These are a bunch of no-name kids, but the right announcers can bring them to life for the audience. You have to be able to convince the audience that they’re watching real NFL prospects. And don’t use someone like Christian Hackenberg for your promotions. He had a recognizable name, but the fans aren’t stupid.

  33. star players like Johnny Manziel or Colin Kaepernick

    Star lol

  34. I’m betting it will be the highest rating of the weekend. I know people who’ve bought season tickets and Ive bought three for the opening game myself. Looking forward to this spin on football; it might be fun to watch!

    NOTE – IF IT DOES GET BIG, SIANARA COLLEGE FOOTBALL!! The prospects will be playing to get paid and mold their craft; not for college football as they do now!!

  35. It’s not the timing of the product so much as the quality of it that dooms these alternate leagues. Unless they can pay NFL salaries to attract top of the line talent, they will always be second-rate, at best. Who enjoys watching (or betting on) NFL preseason game 4? This is basically what it will be.

  36. I enjoyed the USFL, will DVR Saturday’s game, likely check out a game in person, when the weather gets a little warmer.

  37. No. We’ve spent, over the last 40 years, roughly $3 billion proving that they won’t.

    “It makes much more sense for more football to be dropped into football season, ideally on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.”

    Really? How’d that work out for the UFL? I mean, where were you on that epic weeknight when Marty Schottenheimer finally won a championship with the Virginia Destroyers?

  38. I’ll watch if I remember. Just set my DVR to record the Dragons and Wildcats games. I disagree that it’s better to have more football during the NFL season. I have other things to do in addition to watching football, so I don’t need games 4 or 5 nights per week.

  39. It has nothing to do with when they play. Spring leagues don’t fail because they are in the Spring- they fail because the football isn’t good enough. People don’t realize how high the overall level of play is in the NFL- even with lousy teams, until they watch the second tier.

    Face it, the best player in the XFL will be someone not good enough to be a third string NFL player. There just isn’t any getting past that.

  40. Key question is going to be what the expectations of McMahon are. All these startup leagues tend to have the same issue in that they try to keep costs to a minimum yet seem to need/expect high attendance and good TV ratings. If this league is run with realistic expectations (meaning it probably will never rival the NFL, college football, or any other major sports league) they could do well. But if the XFL ends up like the AAF where attendance was pretty strong yet they STILL were nowhere close to covering costs then they’re not going to last long.

  41. I’m giving it a shot, with any luck it will be just as entertaining as the NFL.

    Hopefully, it doesn’t feel fixed like the NFL does at times with no calls/bad calls from the refs in key moments only to propel teams with higher ratings going into the playoffs.

  42. therealraider says:
    February 6, 2020 at 11:34 am
    cobrala2 says:
    February 6, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Two days?
    Has anyone been seeing XFL commercials anywhere?


    Good point. I haven’t seen a single XFL commercial. Seems they coulda capitalized on the exposure of the Super Bowl and ran atleast 1 ad.
    I saw ads on YouTube

  43. Here’s an issue (that I’m sure was created by TV schedule), inconsistent kickoff times some weeks 2PM EST & 5 PM EST, then another week they’re 3 PM & 6 PM then 4 PM and 7 PM. Vince knows better he’d never allow random start times each week for his wrestling programing.

    1. It’s a new league needs to be consistent and easy to find
    2. You’re killing the West Coast market with 11 AM & 2 PM kickoffs
    3. Kickoff times should be fixed 4PM & 7PM

    I’ll watch at the bar if it’s on but unlike the NFL I’m not going at 11 AM to catch the game…I do things around the house run errands then head out around 4 PST.

  44. I can’t stand McMahon and it turned out I wasn’t interested in watching spring football last time. Still, I’ve fired up the DVR and I’ll give this a try. The thing I’m most interested in is the option to score one, two or three extra points.

    Lack of name recognition is going to be a problem. Also, who are the broadcast teams? That was a problem with the AAF.

  45. People will watch the XFL if you folks in the media with access to the players, teams, owners and officials start reporting about it. Get out of your office and visit these teams and start telling the stories about theses teams and players like you do for the NFL and the fans will follow.

  46. Let the top two teams play a couple preseason games vs NFL teams. That would generate preseason interest. If they legitimize themselves, eventually threaten the NFL tankers that the top XFL team will take the place of the worst team in the NFL.

    Actually…wait…no, the XFL will fail. Nobody cares about football this time of year, we need the break.

  47. I can only speak for my local team, but almost all of the Houston Texans hardcore fans are embracing the roughnecks. I didn’t expect to see so many on board..

  48. If quality of play is the standard for success then the XFL is doomed. Everyone already knows that the quality of play will be horrific. It will look like week one preseason games, except with lesser talent.

    The league better hope that people are watching for some other reason than seeing good football.

  49. Not really. Aside from the draft and free agency I like the break from February til August with some Madden every now and then.

  50. The “quality” of play in the XFL can’t be any worse than an NBA regular season game.

  51. My wife will give me some serious stink eye if I start watching spring football, she knows after the Super Bowl that football season is over untill August. She has had enough of me screaming at the T.V when Derek Carr throws the ball away on 4th down September through January, she will not put up with more football.
    so sorry XFL, I just cant do it.

  52. I’ve seen the rules and play differences the XFL will have. If the play matches what the rules describe then the NFL better take notice and look to change some of theirs. This league looks exciting. I’ve got tics to Seattle’s first game. Which is sold out by the way for those that say no one will watch. And it is in a 67,000 seat stadium. Not a 3,000 seat field.

  53. One big difference this time..Fantasy Football. If I am Vince I get free leagues up immediately. If you can get fans emotionally involved with players throughout the league viewership will grow.

  54. They’re pretty stupid all they had to do is look at what fans are starting to dislike about the NFL, that be stupid rule changes. Their best chance would have been old school football!

  55. Hopefully nobody complaining about the quality of play has any issue with watching a college game.

  56. I’m suprised there’s so many people on here interested in this. I love to watch the NFL and part of that is because I know I am watching the best of the best and not a bunch of scrubs. I like the anticipation building up to the weekend games and MNF (hate Thursday games). Too much of a good thing tends to spoil it if you ask me.

    Besides, it is hockey (and basketball) season. Go Bs!

  57. Can’t wait. The Houston team’s logo looks like an updated Oilers logo. With June Jones as the head coach, the chuck and duck offense lives on. Interested to see how the rules play out.

  58. I’m getting tired of the ad-saturated, over-long NFL broadcasts and the league’s refusal to update the rules. The XFL is doing a lot of things I like in those two areas, so yeah, I’ll be watching. Let’s go DCDefenders!

  59. I will definitely embrace it. I loved the first XFL season and thought a second would have been better. I also watched AAF and enjoyed that. I don’t know if it will ultimately succeed but I’ll be on board for as long as it does.

  60. Anybody who doesn’t follow this league is missing out. THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!!!! The XFL is in a much better position than the AAF to succeed. ATTEND GAMES AND WATCH ON TV. Support the league. I know I will be.

  61. Everybody saying they won’t watch is getting downvoted overwhelmingly, but nobody is going to watch after being curious the first few weeks. Cardale Jones is a marquee player in this league for crying out loud.

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