XFL: Could It Restart With the Right Situation in 2021?

This February we saw the birth of a league that had not been around for more than 15 years. We got to ride the wave of emotions that came along with our favorite teams’ ups and downs. We were able to start anew and root for a new team, and buy new gear, and see new players on the field, all within one league.  The XFL.  

While all of this was absolutely riveting and gained some amazing viewership/attendance numbers, it was all lost within a moment. COVID-19 took all this and more from the fans.

It took away the excitement and pure joy of watching a team grow and play together despite barely knowing each other merely weeks before. The XFL had its hand forced into closing the 2020 season at first. Which left a little bit of hope that maybe it could return in 2021. Then it was struck again. The league was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, worth roughly $10-50 million for assets.  

With all this said, is there any chance the league could be pulled out of this bankruptcy?  This will include things like:

  • Does anyone have the money/willingness to go through with the purchase?
  • Do they have the legal knowledge to fix the bankruptcy paperwork?
  • Would the fans even be able to attend by then?
  • Would the league make enough to sustain itself?

In this article, I will go over each of these questions thoroughly. I’ll also try to do the best of my ability to provide logical answers for each section. 

Wealthy/Willing Owner

This is where we come to our first struggle. Who is going to want to pay off tens of millions of dollars for a league that has folded twice? My answer to that is well, third times a charm? 

Vince McMahon has been the owner of the league twice now and has put profit into it way more than he has received back. He supposedly put somewhere near the $100 million mark in only the 2020 rendition of the league.

While he has failed twice, there are in fact rumors that he is willing to give it one last go. In a post made by Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, XFL higher-ups are under the belief that McMahon will buy the league out of bankruptcy. This would be slightly interesting as McMahon would be buying the league from himself in technical terms, however, it could mean for a return in 2021.  

Another small notation is that according to the bankruptcy proceedings the XFL was to hopefully be sold by mid to late July. This could be something to watch for as we move into that section of the month.

Legal Documentation

Originally, McMahon put a 90-day bankruptcy loan on the XFL. What this essentially would do for the buyer (whether it be himself or another person) is to give the buyer a substantial amount of cash to put towards the league. If McMahon can scrounge up the money by July 13, then he can get that bonus loan, however much it is.

This could be the idea all along, that he would push out the loan until sports start to resume and interest goes up, then bring the XFL back to life. This would gain lots of national attention at the absolute least. And give him a great shot to hype up America throughout the remaining 2020. Also, him filling out his own legal documentation would be a breeze. And make the whole situation of becoming un-bankrupt much quicker than a new owner.

Fans in 2021?

This is likely the most uncertain point of the whole article. While all of us hope COVID goes away by February of next year, it’s not a 100% guarantee. Fans could be allowed to attend in a similar manner to what NASCAR has done, which is a, “you can come, but be apart and don’t be stupid” policy.

This has worked out well so far for the racing league.

And could potentially work out for a startup league as it won’t have full stadiums anyways.

While this would mean no cup snakes like the one pictured below, this could be the one shot to make this thing happen. Bringing a new (ish) sport on the scene next February could be a huge benefit for McMahon. The viewership would be up greatly as if there is a second surge of CV-19 people will really need sports more than ever.  

Picture was taken by USAToday.com

Will the League Get Enough Money?

In the shortest terms possible, yes. The league would gain huge viewership as there are few to no sports who play in that gap between the Super Bowl and the MLB start. Even better, as I said before if people are at home/not working, having something new and fun to witness would be groundbreaking. Viewership could be five times better than what it was this year, and even attendance could be semi-respectable provided it is allowed.  

As someone who was robbed of my chance to go to a Week 7 game, I know for a fact that I would take any chance to get myself on that sideline as a press-member. I assume many season ticket holders, fans, and media members feel the same way I do. This could lead to an outcry of support from all sorts of people. While all this combines into one league, I personally believe that this could keep the XFL funded.

One Other Shot?

There have been some rumblings that if the XFL were to not be bought out, then it could take the opportunity to turn into a feeder league for the NFL. Similar to the G-League to the NBA, this would provide NFL teams with a place to store young players.

It would help them to develop and eventually they could come back up and play.  

With this, it would also give people an opportunity to go to XFL games. It wouldn’t be bankrupt, and most importantly, more fans from the NFL level. While this would be a longshot for the league, if it’s the last shot for them, I’d take it without a second thought.

Overall, the league was a massive success in early 2020. Provided it returns, I truly think it can be a successful league, given the right circumstances.  

Here’s to hoping the XFL comes back and to seeing the cup trains be built again. And to seeing franchises birthed from cities that had lost theirs. And here’s to being able to witness it all as football fans.  I will end this off the same way it started, the slogan.

“For the Love of Football”

~XFL

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Follow Trottier on Twitter @ClutchWDN.

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