As the Alliance of American Football suspended operations eight games into its 10 game inaugural season there was a feeling that we had seen this all before. While the sports management company behind the league had decided to cut ties and give up like so many before it, there is still a feeling that there is an appetite for more football in this country.
The list of failed league attempts at this point is long and not particularly distinguished. The World Football league, the US Football League, the XFL (version one), the Stars Football League, and many, many more have all sprung up before falling apart after varying degrees of success.
It is easy to see why a sports management company would want to present, develop, and promote the next great football league. The NFL, and college football for that matter, run such short seasons in relation to the other major American sports that there seems to be a huge hole in the market. Plus, football is still big business at the top level.
The problems for these leagues have never been the same. Some don’t have enough funding. Others seem to have the funding but no TV deal. Others had little of anything to offer. The AAF seemed to be heading in the right direction with its solid TV deal, innovative app, and fun rules. It even had good, and steady, TV ratings. It just had an owner who got scared and pulled the plug way too early.
So, is there a sports management company out there that has the financial backing, the contacts, and an owner who has the fortitude to make his league work against all odds?
Yes, yes, and 100% yes.
Vince McMahon has failed at this before. His first attempt at running a football league was the original XFL. While it had some innovations that made it to the NFL after the league collapsed, specifically certain camera angles and set ups, the league was doomed from the start as being too gimmicky in nature for a football fan and not interesting enough for a wrestling fan.
In 2020, Vince is going to try again. Having seen what he has been able to do with the WWE, turning it into a global monster that has made him a legitimate billionaire, only a fool would dismiss the chances of the league gaining some degree of success, however modest that is compared to the NFL.
The XFL is going to be well funded and well organized. It will also be a league where players not eligible for the NFL because of the three year high school graduation rule will be able to get paid professional money to play the game. This is a league that has learned from earlier mistakes, both its own and that of others, and that can hopefully bring a new dynamic to the spring sporting landscape.
These are all positives from a sports management standpoint that will put the league in a good place when play begins in February 2020.