PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JULY 10
By Leo Haggerty

THE BIGGEST LOSER

The sports league that suffered the most from the pandemic is, without question, the Xtreme Football League.  The XFL shut down after four games and, according to most sources, will not return.

Originally, the XFL cancelled its season in March before the playing of their fifth game as part of a national shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.  At the time, the league had pledged to return for the 2021 season after what officials believed would be the passing of Covid-19.

That mindset all changed in April.  The XFL, who is owned by World Wrestling Entertainment President /CEO Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment, released a prepared statement that stated, “Given the uncertainty of the current environment, the XFL has suspended operations and is evaluating next steps.”

Employees were informed by XFL Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Pollack that the league was ceasing operations.  On a 10-minute conference call with all employees, he didn’t actually say that the XFL was going out of business but, according to a staffer who was informed by Pollack, “It’s done.  It’s not coming back.”

The truly sad commentary is that the XFL was starting to cultivate a fan base.  Week 1 attendance was 69,818 and that broke down to almost 18,000 over the four home sites.  Week 2 increased to 76,285 and Week 3 checked in with 81,942.  Week 4 was the first time there was a precipitous drop in attendance with the numbers clocking in at 70,204.

Granted, these are not NFL-esque numbers but it was a start especially in St. Louis (57,081) and Seattle (51,232).  It was something the league could build on and, to be perfectly honest, it was an enjoyable product to watch especially their novel kickoff rules.

Well, we bury the XFL for the second time.  The first funeral was deserved.  It was “gimmick” football with fans seeing through that and turning away after just one season.

The second burial was premature.  Due to the pandemic, the XFL had no chance to survive their initial season and plan to improve in the coming year.  That’s a shame.

RIP, XFL.  This one, unlike the first, wasn’t your fault.