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Continuing the momentum brought on by all major US sports and certainly the NFL back on the field, the struggling XFL will once again return to the gridiron in early 2022.
League co-owner and international movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced Thursday that the spring professional league will be back after a one-year hiatus. It was reported earlier this year that Johnson would become CEO and spearhead the struggling football league’s latest efforts toward success. The confirmation news follows from the competition’s $15M takeover by Johnson and Dany Garcia, who also own Seven Bucks Productions, alongside RedBird Capital Partners.
“As owners, we’re proud to champion our XFL players, coaches, cities and fans into an electrifying 2022 season!” Johnson said on Twitter. “It’s an uphill battle — but we’re hungry, humble and no one will outwork us. A league of culture, passion & purpose.”
Johnson and Garcia also said:
The XFL represents the idea of ultimate opportunity; it’s a league of soul and culture, anchored by the pursuit of dreams and love for the game, that we couldn’t be more proud to lead. Every XFL player, coach, city, and fan is our top priority and we could not be more excited to champion them in an electrifying 2022 season. We are the new XFL—hungry, humble and no one will outwork us.
The XFL has experienced quite a difficult and unsuccessful past in previous attempts dating back to 2001. The original XFL was conceived as an outdoor football league that would begin play immediately after the traditional NFL season ended, taking advantage of continued public desire to watch football after the NFL and college football seasons had concluded.
The concept was to piggyback on entertainment theatre including WWE wrestling popularity and co-owned by NBC. It had fewer rules than NFL football and featured a generally rougher style of play. It was also owned by WWE founder Vince McMahon, who utilized many similar on-field camera techniques and video technology pioneered in his wrestling venture. Cheerleaders wore scantily clad outfits and were also part of the sale.
After one short season, the league ceased operations entirely in May 2001. Its closure was announced just a few weeks after the league’s season championship game between the Los Angeles Xtreme defeated the San Francisco Demons, on April 21, 2001, at the old Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
No formal announcement has been made yet concerning which cities or specific teams will be involved. Initial hints included New York and Washington being part of a planned eight to twelve team forecast.
There seems to be a very calculated business plan in tow, learning from past mistakes and experiences the previous XFL has encountered. “For the love of football and for the safety of our players and fans, we’ll be back on the field in 2022,” added Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President, and COO. “The opportunity in front of us, with our new ownership, is simply too big to rush back. We want to do this properly with care and thought for everyone who loves football, especially our players, coaches, partners, and fans.”
As many US states continue to legalize wagering, the demand for sports betting will increase. By 2022, more states inevitably will allow wagering on football and all other sports. The more states that embrace legislation, the more interest there will be in games into which feed the menu. The timing of the XFL league’s planned opportunity falls into a calendar traditionally welcoming a gap between NFL and NCAA College Football plus Major League Baseball.
It is also likely that the XFL will also take advantage of sponsorship and partnering opportunities between teams and sportsbook companies as to what is taking place now in the NFL and NBA.
Who knows, it could be possible to employ sportsbooks logos on their uniforms. A potential replay brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel or BetMGM? Thus far, the new plans seem optimistic welcoming back the XFL, while most all will be rooting for its latest 2022 return toward success.
Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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