The XFL suspended operations Friday morning and has laid off nearly all of its staff, with only a handful of executives remaining in place in order to complete the shutdown.
In short statement relayed via the Twitter account of ESPN national NFL writer @SeifertESPN, the message was, “Given the uncertainty of the current environment, the XFL has suspended operations and is evaluating next steps.”
“Ceasing operations” is a serious decision
It took the league two years to build a head office and teams, with coaches, staff and players. Ceasing operations and sending everyone home is a sure sign the league won’t be back for at least two years.
Some staff may be remaining in Stamford, but the word is that they are only there to complete the league’s business. The implication is that they will be laid off as well, once everything is wrapped up.
Why did this happen?
The word is that finances are the reason. By all reports, the league was originally well-funded, and was budgeted to have the money to operate for three seasons. However, the league’s first season was already cut in half, meaning that their first year’s revenue plan was already derailed. With the second season looking like it was in jeopardy, or at the very least, would consist of teams playing in front of empty stadiums, the league would have been looking at a second year of very low revenue.
Financial projections likely indicated it would run out of money before it had a chance to play another down of football. If the league remained in operation, and did not play, it would just hemorrhage money until the bank account was empty. The only logical decision was to quit now, and retain the remaining funds that were originally set aside for the league.
It is also believed that the devastatingly depressed stock market had a role to play in the league’s financial fortunes.
It should be noted, by all reports, the XFL is paying its employees out until the lay-off date, and continuing to honor player contracts. It is also expected that they will pay their bills and not leave any creditors wanting payment as they shutter their operation. This is something the original XFL did when it folded in 2001. The expectation is that this version of the league will do the same.
Will the XFL be back?
People who are close to the league are convinced that this is the end of the XFL.
However, it is logical to say, that by shuttering the operation now, and saving the remaining money that was set aside to fund the league, could mean the XFL could be fiscally viable to continue once the COVID-19 crisis is completely over.
Many will admit it does not look good for the league. However, it is well-known that this league is an ongoing vision of Vince McMahon. Does this mean we can expect the XFL to return once the COVID-19 crisis is over?
Only Vince McMahon knows the answer.