Having not even completed its inaugural season, the XFL files for bankruptcy and has no plan to return
On April 10, the XFL filed for bankruptcy due to the coronavirus pandemic. The parent company of the XFL, Alpha Entertainment, listed the XFL with assets and liabilities in the range of $10 million to $50 million according to ESPN.
The XFL’s official statement is as follows:
“The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football. Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Accordingly, we have filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This is a heartbreaking time for many, including our passionate fans, players, and staff, and we are thankful to them, our television partners, and the many Americans who rallied to the XFL for the love of football.”
Before last Friday, it seemed all was well with the XFL and that they were bearing down due to the current pandemic. During this time, league and team employees/players were paid their typical salaries. Just three weeks ago, the XFL said they were planning for the upcoming 2021 season. Now, the league is no more.
The only public acknowledgment of the league closing from the XFL was a cryptic GIF they posted of Jake Gyllenhaal waving goodbye with a disappointed look on his face.
Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO of WWE and the XFL, had no public statement. McMahon reportedly pulled the plug on the XFL because of the financial strain it was putting on him.
McMahon is a known billionaire, so it seemed strange that he did not have the money to continue the league. But as we know, all sports leagues have suffered significant losses due to this pandemic, including the WWE and the XFL, both of which McMahon funds.
McMahon has a net worth of $1.9 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which is notably down from the $2.9 billion in 2019, and WWE’s stock price has dropped by 42 percent this year according to ESPN.
With the numbers dropping rapidly, McMahon decided to pull the plug on the XFL. Players and coaches have all now been granted access to sign with the NFL or any other leagues, which confirms that the XFL has no plans of returning.
With this, we now look back on the XFL and the entertaining three months we had with it as fans. The ingenuity the XFL brought to football is going to have a long-lasting effect. The new kickoff rules created a safer and more exciting play that many believe the NFL should adopt.
The most intriguing adaptation was the all-access viewing of the referee in the replay booth, deciding what he was going to rule. Fans appreciated the openness and vulnerability of this addition, and it seems that it should be a no brainer addition for the NFL.
We also got to watch the magic of P.J. Walker, the Houston Roughnecks quarterback who took the league by storm, leading his team to a perfect record. His play earned an NFL contract with the Carolina Panthers. Walker getting his second chance at the NFL is what made the XFL so great. It took players who were deemed unfit for the NFL and gave them the ability to show their talent.
The XFL will go down again as another failed spring football league, but while it was here, it gave its all for the love of football.