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XFL Saga Continues

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Photo Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever

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The XFL made four payments totaling $2.05 million to Vince McMahon’s main venture WWE in the month between play stoppage and the league filing bankruptcy in April, adding to suspicion there was more at play into the league’s failure than the pandemic. 

That detail adds another twist to the XFL’s collapse, according to ESPN. Currently, the league is working through a sales process – preliminary bids from 30 vetted parties are due June 22. Final offers are due July 29 and a court auction is scheduled for August 3.

The league could emerge from bankruptcy with a new owner, but spring football appears to only have a few paths to success. One could be an official development relationship with the NFL – more than 30 XFL players have signed NFL contracts this spring. 

The XFL is pitching a 12-week “made-for-TV” 2021 season, which could be a selling point depending on the continued impact of coronavirus on sports. If that’s the case, major tech companies with broadcast capabilities and plenty of cash on hand looking to get into sports, like Apple or Amazon, could be some of the potential bidders.

Key XFL Numbers: 

  • 1.9 million TV viewers per game
  • $20 million in gross revenue
  • $46 million projected gross revenues for the 10-game season

WWE Unrest

WWE could be a factor in why the XFL struggled, but it has struggles of its own now. A “development talent” at WWE has tested positive for COVID-19, leading the organization to pause its production. It’s the second member of WWE personnel to test positive, the other occurring in April. The WWE has continued to hold weekly shows from its training center in Florida for roughly three months amid the pandemic, albeit with no fans in attendance. Through all of the XFL and WWE struggles, Forbes reported that McMahon’s net worth has dropped from $2.9 billion to $1.9 billion in the past year.

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