In Vince We Trust

(30 August 2000) — When the XFL announced the eight team nicknames, colors and logos last week most fans were watching with a certain level of excitement. Here at XFLBoard.com, we were also waiting for the team names to be announced. Mostly though, we wanted to see if the predictions on this board would turn out to be correct. We got more than we bargained for.

Most of us really didn’t know what to expect. Would the announcement just consist of Vince McMahon pointing at a flipchart with a pointy stick? There was suppose to be a video simulcast. What would it consist of?

We soon found out.

One only has to watch the announcement video, which can still be viewed at http://www.xfl.com, to see how polished this announcement really was. The announcement turned out to be a first class affair. Most media and fans found themselves reacting to the big announcement with excitement and optimism.

Before the announcement, many fans were caught up on the rumors of what people termed as “awful” team names. Once the announcement was done most fans were settled on the fact that these names and logos were cool.

The big questions is this: How did the name Orlando “Rage” go from awful to cool? The Orlando press tried to put it all in perspective when they said “at least we are not the Maniax”. Meanwhile over in the Memphis camp they have unofficially renamed the Liberty Bowl as the “Asylum”. Both reactions show some level of acceptance by the local media and/or management of these franchises.

It turns out that most fans and media went on to accept the nicknames and logos in one single afternoon. We still hear some fans complaining about the names, but the target demographic, young men (18-24) are not complaining at all. They are loving this.

This league is targeted for them. Even the video soundtrack has a harsh, techno-rave beat. This was not meant to appeal to the over-forty, baby boomer set. This is strictly Gen X and younger.

Of course there has been more than one fan who has expressed their displeasure for these names. One fan in particular, a regular contributor to the XFLBoard.com message board, went on to say that because of the Los Angeles Xtreme name, he couldn’t go on posting as “L.A. Fan”. In fact, he said that he would not be following the XFL anymore. This is a fact of life. Some fans will not ever be able to accept some of these team nicknames. The up side is that for every fan the XFL has turned off, they have probably gained a thousand more.

How did most fans turn to accept these nicknames and logos? It is because Vince McMahon has been telling us that we were to expect something different, and especially, something opposite to what the NFL was providing. The team name announcement set the tone for what to expect in the future, and also proves to us that the XFL means to set itself apart from other leagues. This is exactly what Vince has been telling us all along.

One fan in our message board has recently commented that “the XFL was suppose to be a return to the football that our fathers watched.” He went on to say that the team names and logos did not represent a bygone era of football.

The real answer to this comment is simple. We are in still in for old-time football, the team names and logos will be 21st century.

Extra Point: Did you see the XFL football flying through the air in the team nickname announcement video? Now that is cool! If this is comment is coming from someone who is over 35, I wonder what the 18-24 demographic thinks of this ball?

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

XFL Unveils Team Names and Logos for Inaugural Season

STAMFORD, Conn.–Aug. 24, 2000–XFL today unveiled the names and logos of the eight teams that will begin play on February 3, 2001 in major cities throughout the country. The names of the eight teams are:

NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY HITMEN – Aggressive, Relentless, In-Your-Face, and Hard-Hitting is the best way to describe the NY/NJ style of play. The HITMEN team colors are black and blue, just like they expect their opponents to look the day after they play them. You got a problem with that?

ORLANDO RAGE – Sensory overload is the theme in Orlando and if you’ve ever spent a few days there, you’ll know what we mean. The logo and colors embody that emotion of RAGE, a name by which any football coach would hope his team would be characterized.

MEMPHIS MANIAX – The plural of maniac is the root of this team name – an intimidating characteristic of any opponent, but even more so of a whole team. The maniacal eyes of the team mascot is just a preview of how the MANIAX opponents will feel after they’ve been AX’ed.

SAN JOSE DEMONS – Universally, DEMONS is a name that needs no explanation, however for those who want one, here goes…In sport, what name or symbol could be more menacing? The long-flight home for most opponents will seem even longer after the striking red, black and gold colors of the DEMONS possess them.

LOS ANGELES XTREME – Known for its cultural, geographic and economic extremes, LA is the only city distinguished enough to hold the XTREME name. Hey LA, professional football is back and this time it wears stylized blue, silver and gold.

LAS VEGAS OUTLAWS – Fooled you all! Yes, the obvious names were considered, but what’s so tough about a gambler? The old west’s rough and tough history will be embodied in the OUTLAWS’ style of play. Black, Vegas gold, and red are the only colors to drape these OUTLAWS.

CHICAGO ENFORCERS – Few cities can match Chicago’s long history of strength, toughness, and attitude when it comes to professional sports. The fist of the ENFORCERS logo is the perfect icon for this dominant city.

BIRMINGHAM THUNDERBOLTS – While some cities can boast about professional sports teams and championships, few can match Birmingham’s love for football. The purple, gold and silver team colors and logo captures the BOLTS electrifying spirit.

“We needed to create names and team identities that truly represent what the XFL is all about,” said Basil V. DeVito, Jr., President of the XFL. “And we spent nine months doing it. It was a creative labor of love and we’re excited about the results. The initial reaction from fans and business partners alike has been great!”

An eight-person design team logged more than 3,500 hours of design developing the logos, word marks, and uniform designs. The XFL design team was a joint effort of WWE Entertainment Creative Services and Bruce Burke of Oneworld Communications, former NFL Properties vice president who founded and directed the NFL’s in-house Advertising and Design Group between 1987 and 1999, supporting all of the NFL’s marketing communications. Among his twelve years of experience at the NFL, Bruce developed several NFL team identities including the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.

For more information, visit XFL.com.

It Was a Blast…

(23 August 2000) — The XFL has announced that the team names will be revealed on Thursday, 24 Aug 00 at 1PM EDT.

We’ve been speculating and rumor-mongering on this board for the past four months and we are glad that the league will finally make it all official.

The nickname rumor train gave us something to keep us busy in the time that we waited for the XFL to get things in order. People want rumors, and the nicknames were the most famous rumors of them all.

We have come a long way from the day that a supposed insider named XFLFAN gave us the notorious list: Pioneers, Skyscrapers, Orcas, Condors, Terminators, Bloodhounds, Gamblers and Nighthawks.

You are probably wondering what happened to XFLFAN. I will go on record saying that XFLFAN was not an insider, although we initially thought that he might be. He is actually a guy from Lakeland, Florida who was a good guesser at some things. He was also somebody who just wanted things to go his way, mostly by starting some good rumors and then hoping that they will come true some day. Once this was discovered, he was done at XFLBoard. XFLFAN and I have been in contact lately. He now brags about how he fooled everybody, including the admin of this web site. But now that is ancient history – on to the famous future.

The notorious list did make it all the way to the XFL head office, but they did not bite. After all, they had their own marketing studies, which were leading to determine the possible names.

From what we can piece together, based on actual WWFe trademark registrations and internet domain name registrations, this is what actually occurred:

There were some initial nickname choices made by the league: Empire, Demons, Crusaders, Chaos, Snake Eyes, Xtreme, Warlords, Vipers, Rock, Predators, Hitmen, Enforcer, Lazers and Maniax. These names were all trademarked first, but were not linked to cities yet. A marketing study was done to decide which names were popular.

Once studies were complete some secondary choices were linked to XFL cities: San Jose Demons, New York Chaos, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Jose Demons, Memphis Maniax and Chicago Enforcers. Birmingham and Las Vegas were up in the air at this point, so they did not figure into the equation. Further marketing studies were done on these names.

On June 14th, laxtreme.com, nychaos.com and chicagoenforcers.com were registered as internet domain names to the WWFe. These were obviously solid choices for names of these cities at this time.

On August 13th, a meeting was held to make final decisions to team names. NY Chaos was changed to NY/NJ Hitmen. The names Birmingham Blast, Memphis Maniax were approved. A new internet domain name losangelesxtreme.com was chosen.

On August 14th all the new internet domain names were registered: BIRMINGHAMBLAST.COM, CHICAGOENFORCERS.COM, LOSANGELESXTREME.COM, LASVEGASOUTLAWS.COM, MEMPHISMANIAXX.COM, NYNJHITMEN.COM and SANJOSEDEMONS.COM.

On August 22nd, due to public furor in Alabama, the name Birmingham Blast was dropped as a potential team name. What will the new Birmingham name be? We don’t have a clue, although several good names have been suggested in our message board. My personal favorite is IRONMEN.

The only thing we don’t know is a name choice for the Orlando team. The name Rage is rumored by the Orlando media, but we have no evidence of this in either trademark information or domain name registrations. The internet domain ORLANDORAGE.COM is registered to a private concern, but it is very recently registered and there is a sports related website at that location. We are not sure what is going on, and we don’t wish to speculate at this time.

We are now ready for the XFL to reveal the official team names.

Just to clear the air in advance, we don’t care if the rumors on this web site are proven to be true or false. If we turn out to be absolutely wrong, we would like to say in advance “Good job Vince, thanks for keeping us in suspense!”

After all, what we really want is for the names, logos and colors to be really “cool”.

Then let’s play some football!

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

XFL Press Release:

23 August 2000
Get ready for the XFL logos

Over the past two months, the XFL has been busy announcing the eight cities that will host teams during its inaugural season. And now its time to get to the fun stuff! This Thursday, August 24, the XFL will unveil all eight team logos and nicknames in eight simultaneous press events held in each XFL city. The cross-country celebration will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET with WWF New York serving as “party central” – so if you’re in the tri-state area come on down to Times Square and join the fun! Plus, a video featuring the names and logos will be broadcast over the NBC video billboard in Times Square! The press conference will follow the video – so you can watch the entire press event from the street in New York City’s Times Square!

Attention News, Entertainment and Sports Editors:
Media Advisory – XFL to unveil team names and logos

WHAT: XFL Press Event
WHY: XFL will announce the names and logos of the eight teams for its inaugural season
WHO: Basil V. DeVito, Jr. – President, XFL Drew Pearson – Vice President and GM of NY/NJ team
WHEN: Thursday, August 24, 2000 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: WWF New York 1501 Broadway (corner of 43rd Street and Broadway) New York, NY 10036

Smashmouth Football? Smashmouth Marketing!

(21 August 2000) — Have you been following the rise of the XFL? How has the trip been so far? Let me tell you…

The XFL was first announced in February 2000. This web site and a few others were created in the months that followed. In this time we have seen the league start from an announcement which contained a few rules and a strong statement from Vince McMahon claiming that we would see a return to Smashmouth Football.

Since then we have not seen any Smashmouth football. Of course, we are still taking Vince’s word that we will eventually see it.

What we have seen in its place, is “smashmouth marketing”.

This is a brand new league, fighting to put itself together in a limited time span, while trying to market itself. It also seems imperative that this new league creates enough fan-based hype so that they will survive through an entire NFL season.

Not to mention the monumental task of establishing and organizing eight franchises in different cities and with a variety of personnel. It does not sound like a great way to spend your summer vacation.

Have they done enough? I don’t think anybody could have done any better than what Vince McMahon and his gang in Stamford CT. have done.

Their announcements seem to be timed so that nary a week has gone by without a major league press release. Every press conference has been a first class affair, gaining plenty of local media coverage in most of the XFL team cities, especially in the smaller markets.

When Dick Butkus was announced as the Head Coach of the Chicago franchise it sent shockwaves across the country. The announcement was played out in every media market across the land and even many more around the world. Many agreed on the decision to place Butkus as the head coach of the Chicago XFL team, and many more disagreed. But, never mind the opinion of the media. The seed was planted, and the hype that grew was “gold”.

And there is more to come.

In the coming weeks we will be formally introduced to the official XFL team nicknames, team colors, team logos and jersey designs. The same thing will happen all over again. The XFL team names may prove to be wildly different than what the football following public is use to. This will create a stir!

In the media there will be coverage – good, bad and otherwise. But, in the football jersey buying demographic there will be a need to go out and shop. The media hype will get everybody’s attention, and the people will react with their wallets.

Later this fall we will also be introduced to potential XFL players through combines and training camps. How will the XFL take advantage of this, to create the necessary level of excitement? We’ll just leave that up to Vince McMahon and the team in Stamford.

It hasn’t all been coming up roses. The league’s official web site at xfl.com has had some good days and bad days. For example, the recent announcement of the signing of Al Luginbill as Head Coach of the Los Angeles franchise was not posted on the official site until approximately 36 hours after it had occurred. By this time, the announcement was already “old news” at most media sites and XFL fan sites. Like many people have learned in the past. Creating a web site is one thing – keeping it up to date is totally different.

The XFL will learn from it’s mistakes.

The first XFL game will take place one week after the Super Bowl. One wonders how the XFL can keep the hype going through the entire NFL regular season and have the fan frenzy peak just after the biggest football game of the year? The XFL has yet to take us down this road.

The scenery could be interesting.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

XFL names Spalding first official licensee

Stamford, CT/East Rutherford, NJ, August 3, 2000 – The XFL, a new professional football league jointly owned and operated by World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. (NMS: WWFE) and NBC, announced today that Spalding Sports Worldwide has been named the first official licensee of the league. As part of the multi-year license agreement, Spalding will be the official ball of the league and will market a line of footballs under the XFL name. Made with Spalding’s patented all-weather construction, the Spalding XFL game ball will be used in all of the games beginning with the season opener on February 3, 2001.

“Spalding is one of the most recognizable names in sports and we’re very excited to have Spalding on board as our first on-field partner,” said Basil V. DeVito, Jr., President of the XFL. “The Spalding game ball, with its unique and high-impact black, silver, and red color combination, will be one of the strongest icons of the XFL.”

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to be part of such a cutting-edge organization,” stated Eddie Binder, Executive Vice President of Spalding Sports Worldwide. “The sporting goods industry has been flat for the past five years in both participation and sales. We feel the XFL will bring a new perspective to the sports arena with its wide-open style of football combined with savvy marketing campaigns. The league’s success will be great for football, fans, and retailers.”

Spalding’s official line of XFL footballs will roll out this October, in time for the key holiday selling period. The line will consist of seven SKU’s, and price range from $10.00 to $80.00. Spalding will support the XFL football series with a multi-million dollar advertising and promotional campaign beginning this fall.

Spalding Sports Worldwide is the nation’s first full-line sporting goods company. Its leadership and innovative products have led to revolutionary breakthroughs in virtually every major sporting goods product category. Under the Spalding umbrella are the Strata, Top-Flite, Etonic, Ben Hogan and Dudley brands. To find more information on Spalding, visit www.spalding.com or call the Consumer Relations Department at (800) 225-6601.