On Thursday WWE CEO Vince McMahon made official the worst kept secret of the last few weeks.
The XFL will be getting the relaunch treatment in 2020.
If you remember the first go around for the XFL back in 2001 you would know that the product was an abject failure. Even McMahon admitted as such.
That does not mean a second go around will have a similar fate. The good thing about second chances is that you do learn from your mistakes. Time heals all wounds.
That is why I do believe when the XFL makes its return to the public consciousness it will be better received. It only has nowhere to go but up.
Here is what we know about the relaunch in the immediate.
1. It launches in 2020
Two years may seem like alot of time away but between selecting the cities and getting sponsors and figuring it where to broadcast games, two years will fly by. Believe me.
2. It will be an requirement to stand for the national anthem.
Addressing a national divisive issue that even I have cause for pause. But to their XFL's credit they have already drawn a line in the stand. There is no space for political statements in this league. While I may not necessarily like that idea since I am a First Amendment absolutist it is also a private company's right to set whatever rules they want to set. The NFL never did that within their guidelines. The progressive league that is the NBA however did. Such is why the NFL is in the divisive political shit-hole they have been in the last few seasons.
3. No one with criminal background allowed in the league.
I can see the XFL amending this rule as we get closer and closer to 2020. I mean guys like Johnny Manziel, who does have some off field issues and is technically not allowed in the league would be big ratings for the league. There's got to be a more clear cut mandate on who the XFL deem a criminal.
4. Eight teams. 40 man rosters. No cities chosen
Also to boot there will be four playoff teams. A semi-final and championship game. If I am ownership I am looking into football starved cities who lost their NFL team like San Diego, St. Louis, Oakland and others. The XFL can throw darts at the NFL without having to try hard.
5. No owners. It will operate as a single entity.
This is good. No middle man. Plus an eight team league should be easy to handle. Whether or not the league decides to open up individual ownership franchises will solely be based on the success and longevity of the XFL.
6. It should immediately embrace streaming services.
XFL needs to be the anti NFL. The anti ESPN. Embrace streaming services. Lord knows where we will be with that in 2020 anyway. Partner up with Amazon or Hulu. Maybe by 2020 Netflix would have softened up on their stance with sports rights. There will be MANY avenues open even in the next year alone. Keep options open. Just make sure streaming is priority #1.
7. The XFL must be a summer league.
Face it. Between the months of June and August, outside of baseball, nothing is going on in sports. I would not launch the league in the winter after there is football burnout among NFL fans. The XFL should not be in the business of competing with the NFL. It should be establishing it's own footnote. The best time of year to do that is in the summer when by then most football fans are already thirsty for the NFL and college football. The XFL can quench that thirst out the gate.