So either ESPN is out.............

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MGB01
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So either ESPN is out.............

Post by MGB01 » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:45 am

https://www.espn.com/xfl/story/_/id/29297846

Or Kevin Seifert is out of a job (there have been more layoffs at ESPN the last two years than in WWE). Seriously, why effectively republish what amounts to a two-month old article/semi-hit piece if you're among the rumored bidders?

I guess the war's back on again

nick1091
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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by nick1091 » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:47 pm

I think there's two possibilities here;

1. ESPN is such a monolith the group who would be responsible for going forward with a bid of the XFL assets have no idea as to the editorial content that goes up. Example - the 30 for 30 that painted Bob Knight as abusive and a pariah, despite the fact after all those items were publicized ESPN employed him as an analyst for years.

2. If you're ESPN/Disney and interested in bidding, publicizing a piece that's critical of how the XFL is run and how unlikely spring football as a whole is to be profitable only helps you. If any bidders see that and get cold feet, it could certainly drop the purchase price down, and even if someone does acquire it, you can potentially "play hardball," when negotiating any TV deals.

I have to say I think the article was less a hit piece than just an aggregation of old news. Most of the items except for the direct quotes from employees had already been reported other places and in more detail. Despite the dramatic sounding headline, Seifert's conclusion seems to be XFL failed due to the pandemic eliminating live crowds and related revenue for both the league as well as WWE, which isn't exactly breaking new ground.

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ManOnTheMoon
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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by ManOnTheMoon » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:29 am

What this article gives me is hope that the XFL will return in some form or fashion. This is the best that we can expect these days.

When I step back and look at the sports world as a whole, I see every league or organization struggling how to stay relevant, profitable, and enjoyable. The XFL is not immune to this. To think that there are serious investors out there who are willing to take the chance.

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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by GregParks » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:09 pm

I struggle to find how anyone could read Seifert's article as a "hit piece." There was no dishonesty, little to no editorializing, no axes to grind from Seifert or anyone else quoted in the article. He's been on the XFL beat at ESPN for a while and I thought he was pretty fair acknowledging both the successes and failures of the league. The idea that ESPN shouldn't report on those things because they have a relationship with the XFL (or HAD...I'm not sure the TV contracts are still good) is pretty crummy and the kind of thing anyone with journalistic integrity would go hard at ESPN for had this been another league partner of theirs.

I've long been skeptical of any buyer restarting the league in a successful manner in 2021. It just seems like too short a time frame from the bankruptcy sale in August to February. Reading that the idea is to have a "made-for-TV" format (whatever that means...I guess just no fans in attendance) in a single location, then going back to the traditional structure in 2022 makes more sense and allows for more time to hire and reestablish in those local markets. Plus the league can learn from what will have worked/not worked in college football and the NFL in 2020 when it comes to working around the pandemic, and applying it to 2021 and beyond if that's still an issue.

No matter who wins the bidding, I fail to see them putting as much capital in the league as Vince McMahon would have over the long-term. That may mean less money for coaches, players, and a commissioner, which may mean less well-known names in those spots, too. My dream is they can get as many people back from the latest version of the league as possible, but I'm not sure how many would be willing to take that chance again. A lot of it is going to depend on the buyer and their reputation. I thought initially there was no chance anyone would bid on this league; not in the middle of a pandemic when you can't guarantee when/how many fans would be in the stands (the main source of revenue, it seems, until a TV deal), and when big companies who would bid are being hit hard by a down economy. I'm pleasantly surprised that they have so many interested parties. REALLY trying to temper my hopefullness for this to turn out well in the end.
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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by MGB01 » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:08 pm

I didn't say outright hit piece I said semi-hit piece, when you start rattling off the normal regurgitated garbage about ratings and attendance and basically, like Peter King a month or so back, dismissed COVID what would you call it? And if his problem was with keeping teams in New York and LA maybe he should take that up with his bosses.

What was the purpose of this piece? We had this two months ago--nothing's really happening for six weeks anyway, and he didn't exactly dump all over everyone in St Louis who thought the Hawks were a big deal but you just don't do that overtly anymore, otherwise Hillary Clinton would be headed for her second (fourth) term.

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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by 4th&long » Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:59 am

Agreed VM was best shot at maling spring FB work... until Covid

ESPN can spin all they want, this is all about the China Virus.

Don;t count VM totally out if no one steps up.

If there's no 2021 season, there's no XFL - it can be a shorten (eg 8 game-6 team) season but a full yr off won't sit well.
- otherwise a perspective buyer can just study the info and do their own in 2022

GregParks
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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by GregParks » Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:19 pm

MGB01 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:08 pm
I didn't say outright hit piece I said semi-hit piece,
I'm not sure I'm ready to argue the semantics of what makes something a "hit piece" versus just a "semi-hit piece," but regardless, my reading of it was not a hit piece at all.
when you start rattling off the normal regurgitated garbage about ratings and attendance
I guess one man's "regurgitated garbage" is another man's facts. Have we heard about the attendance and ratings before? Sure, but that doesn't make it any less true, specifically the points Seifert brought up: That despite the size of the cities, New York and LA were lagging well behind others in attendance figures. Those are facts. That ratings had dropped significantly and perhaps most alarmingly, the drops between week four and week five when things should've been steadying (not sure if he specifically mentioned those weeks, but yeah). Those are facts. And he even gave the XFL the soft landing of the idea ratings could've taken an upturn with more games on FOX and ABC in the latter stages of the season.
and basically, like Peter King a month or so back, dismissed COVID what would you call it?
Are you saying Seifert dismissed COVID as a reason McMahon shuttered the league? If so, I didn't read that at all; rather, it seemed that while COVID obviously led to the initial shutdown and costing the league local revenue it would've generated during the final five weeks, the fact that McMahon's personal wealth was largely tied to WWE's stock, which took a hit when he fired the top two presidents in the company, is to me not insignificant. As Dave Meltzer said at the time, it's a lot easier to lose $500 million when you're worth $3 billion than it is to lose $500 million when you're worth $1.9 billion. Add that to the idea that with COVID and the economy taking a downturn because of it, who knows if Vince would've been able to get the TV deal he was looking for which would've made the XFL solvent into the future, and yeah, I think there were more issues at play than just blaming the subsequent bankruptcy 100% on the virus. That said, I'm surprised McMahon didn't choose to first furlough employees to get a better idea of the length and economic impact of the virus before just shutting everything down.
And if his problem was with keeping teams in New York and LA maybe he should take that up with his bosses.
I think you're reading editorializing in the story where there really was none. This wasn't a column where Seifert gives his opinion on the league; it was based on facts and interviews with those there at the time. To insinuate that Seifert himself had a problem with teams in NY and LA is, in my opinion, unfair to his reporting.
What was the purpose of this piece? We had this two months ago
Sure, WE did - as in those who follow the XFL closely, read all the Athletic and Sports Business Journal pieces, and keep up with the bankruptcy filings and lawsuit info courtesy of some XFL-focused reporters. But sports fans at large? This was probably their first reading of a lot of this info. Seifert did say on Twitter, if not in the story, that he had spent two months on it, which is why it has come out now and not in April. So to me, the purpose was to tell this story in a place where most sports fans go for their news (the Worldwide Leader), so more people read about it.
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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by MGB01 » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:55 pm

LA and New York held the league down, no one will argue that, but it's totally counterproductive to make that point when you work for the very corp that has dictated that there be teams in both (as ESPN did with the Arena League in the early years, ABC even went a step further with Chicago in the USFL). That's why I said he should take it up with them, although in their defense pretty much everybody's guilty of "big market syndrome".

No reading/editorializing, just "wait a minute if 2+2 =4 in the previous paragraph then how is it 22 here?"

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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by GoDogs » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:11 pm

GregParks wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:09 pm
I struggle to find how anyone could read Seifert's article as a "hit piece."
For me it started with the title: “How the XFL came crashing down, and what its collapse means for the future of spring football”. The rest was just a rehash of stuff we all read on this board, Twitter, etc. Guess the assumption is most people wanted it to fail (title to grab eyeballs?). I read it hoping to find something new.

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ManOnTheMoon
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Re: So either ESPN is out.............

Post by ManOnTheMoon » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:20 am

I see the piece as a nice and concise summary of what has been going on over the past few months with the XFL. Sure, people like us who follow most things XFL we've seen most of the items in that article in other articles. However, for the casual sports fan, this article gives a nice timeline of events to what happened to the XFL and where it stands today.

The way I look at it, any article that come out about the XFL these days is a good thing. Those articles will generate discussion and keep the XFL in the casual fan's mind.

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