Tuesday October 3, 2023

XFL Owners Optimistic Despite Losses, Declining Viewership

  • The XFL reportedly suffered a financial hit of $60 million this year.
  • Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia are confident the league will thrive in the coming years.
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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Despite huge financial losses and layoffs after its first season in a revamped format, XFL co-owners Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia remain bullish on the spring football league’s future.

Forbes reports the XFL lost $60 million in 2023 but expects to rake in $100 million in revenue next year — but in May, the league cut several full-time positions in what it calls a transition to seasonal employment.

The XFL’s optimism stems from capital commitments through Year 4, including ESPN’s $20 million annual rights payment and sponsorship deals with Progressive and Under Armour.

“We’re extremely well-capitalized for the long-term,” said Garcia.

“This is not just an endeavor that’s going to fill up a portfolio and one day we flip it and we’re out,” Johnson added. “This is legacy. This is the long game.”

This season’s XFL championship game drew 1.43 million viewers on ABC after ratings steadily declined throughout the regular season. The league is battling for spring football supremacy with the USFL, which will wrap up its second season under Fox’s ownership on July 1.

The rival leagues are resorting to different strategies. With teams in eight different markets, the XFL is looking to capitalize on local fan bases, while the eight-team USFL — which counts NBC as another media partner alongside Fox — is playing this season entirely in hub cities Detroit, Memphis, Canton and Birmingham after playing every game in Alabama last year.

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