Is this the end of the XFL? Only Vince McMahon Knows

Will the XFL be back? Only Vince McMahon knows the answer.

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.”

A change of plans

It was only a few weeks ago that the XFL canceled its remaining season as part of a nationwide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, at that time, XFL COO Jeffrey Pollack pledged that the league would be back in 2021.

However, it is rumored that a recent evaluation of the league’s finances warranted a drastic change in plans.

XFL Employees laid off

On Friday 10 April, XFL employees were told they were laid off in a 10-minute conference call from Jeffrey Pollack.

“The XFL as an entity has been hard hit and is affected more directly than most in the sport industry,” Pollack told staffers. “We had no alternative than to stop right in the middle of our first season, just as we were continuing to build our foundation and our future. As a result of the pandemic’s impact and given the uncertainty we are now living with and facing, the decision has been to immediately suspend day-to-day operations of the XFL in Stamford and each of our eight markets. What this means is that everyone’s employment by the XFL is terminated, effective today.”

Pollack then told employees that funds had been deposited into their bank accounts, “providing your earned, but unpaid salary through April 12, plus payment for accrued and unused vacation time.”

It should be noted that the given layoff date of April 12th was only two days in the future.  This must have been an additional shock to most employees, who may now be wondering how they will pay their bills.

Pollack also indicated that a “small skeleton” staff would be present in Stamford, Conn. to allow employees to collect personal belongings from the XFL office, though the coronavirus prevention measures in place meant that the logistics of that move have yet to be determined.

Pollack assured them that the layoffs “had nothing to do with your performance or what was achieved.” He ended by saying that it has “been my absolute pleasure and honor to work with all of you… I appreciate, love and respect you all.”

Almost immediately, on social media, many former employees expressed shock in the sudden decision. Later, a few more even expressed dismay that their corporate email accounts were shut off so quickly.

It has also been reported that players were surprised by the sudden decision, and were not officially notified.

The league announces it’s departure with a cheap gif

The only official message to the outside world, including fans and players, was an animated GIF of actor Jake Gyllenhaal waving goodbye. Nothing more.

“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.

3 comments on “Is this the end of the XFL? Only Vince McMahon Knows

  • I would like to hear from Oliver Luck. Can a reporter or online journalist contact him for his comments?

  • Peter Hooper says:

    I sincerely hope that this is not the end for the XFL. Such a promising season and so unfortunate for it to end in this way. This news certainly does not inspire confidence that a return is likely ☹️

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