Some are already ready to bury the XFL and are comparing it to the demise of the AAF, but that’s the wrong league to compare it to.
Is the XFL sustainable? Some are already saying it’s going to die like the Alliance of American Football, but that’s not a fair comparison. It should be compared more to the BIG3 League rather than the AAF.
There are three main reasons the AAF died.
- Their primary backer backed out and they lost funding.
- Not everyone had access to watch the games, with the games on the CBS Sports Network and the NFL Network.
- Their model wasn’t sustainable.
Let’s look at the first and third reasons as the main reasons that the AAF is a bad comparison. According to Jenna West of Sports Illustrated, Vince McMahon himself is already going to back the XFL until they can find a major television partner. So, they will have the funding to continue.
However, McMahon expects to spend around $500 million on the league in the first three seasons, reports ESPN.
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When the AAF launched, the goal was to create a way for players to get back into the NFL — a developmental league. That wasn’t feasible.
Oliver Luck was on Radio Row during Super Bowl week, and he was with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. He said his plans were completely different, according to Michael David Smith.
“Vince wants to develop a sustainable, standalone league. He doesn’t want to be a developmental league. I ran a developmental league for 10 years,” Luck said. “But I think Vince’s mindset is to build something that can last and sustain itself on its own without any support from the NFL or anyone else.”
The XFL sees itself as more of a league like Ice Cube’s BIG3 league — a distinct league unto itself. The XFL’s unique rules and concepts that differ from traditional football make it such.
The comparison to the AAF isn’t apt. The Big3 League, with its unique brand of basketball, is still around after three complete seasons. So, there’s no reason to think the XFL will fold just because the AAF did.