OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

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Tank55
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OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by Tank55 »

I just started reading Ryan Hockensmith's story on the old World Football League.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/337 ... fl-nba-nhl
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Tank55
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Re: OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by Tank55 »

Some things never change:
Davidson had rushed to round up millionaires for the WFL who could pony up the $120,000 franchise fee and also absorb several years of losses -- he flat-out told most owners they were going to leak money until Year 3 even if everything broke right.
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herns
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Re: OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by herns »

Tank55 wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:06 am I just started reading Ryan Hockensmith's story on the old World Football League.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/337 ... fl-nba-nhl
Interesting read, I think I remember a few years back Ted Turner saying he was interested in using that branding, since it’s been years I feel safe assuming it’s not happening
MGB01
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Re: OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by MGB01 »

herns wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:40 am
Tank55 wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:06 am I just started reading Ryan Hockensmith's story on the old World Football League.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/337 ... fl-nba-nhl
Interesting read, I think I remember a few years back Ted Turner saying he was interested in using that branding, since it’s been years I feel safe assuming it’s not happening
Turner was interested in a collaboration with NBC after they and TNT were shut out of the TV contracts in '98, that kind of went away once the NBA lockout happened and NBC was actually set to work with WCW, even going so far as to have Clash of Champions-style events opposite WWF PPVs. That never got off the ground (and ultimately all that came of it was the utterly craptacular Jesse Ventura Story) and ultimately Vince, off of the Viking and Argos/CFL experience, swooped NBC up himself.

Of course in the end all Ebersol wanted to do was Saturday Night's Main Event: Pro Football, the less said........................
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Re: OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by super390 »

Tank55 wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:06 am I just started reading Ryan Hockensmith's story on the old World Football League.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/337 ... fl-nba-nhl
Whoops, I linked to that same story over at the USFL board.

I think the article goes easy on Davidson, who was its protagonist. Because I've studied the WFL for many years, I found interviews Davidson gave before things went sideways, where he expressed a shockingly cavalier attitude about franchises being a license to print money. The article says that several of the owners he hastily found were not as rich as they said they were, but it was worse than that. He was knowingly giving franchises away to people who clearly were not rich enough, and enticing them with the idea that they could flip their team to a real tycoon. According to real tycoon Tom Origer of the Chicago Fire, this proved harmful when the surprising attendance figures in Week 1 tempted those wanna-bes to try to hold onto their franchises until the end of the season, financing operations week-by-week out of gate receipts. Rule #1 about new leagues: never, ever try to finance operations out of gate receipts.
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Re: OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by super390 »

Oh, on top of that the WFL did not split the gate. So if you were keeping your team going off of gate receipts, but you had a 3-game road trip coming up, tough tamales.

Late in the season, though, some teams were making so little money at home that they sold off home dates in exchange for a private deal with the opponent for part of the gate.

And finally, a team forfeited its playoff spot because it couldn't afford to host a game.

Imagine anything like that happening today at any level of pro sports above, say, indoor football. Though strangely, selling off one's home dates to play big college powers for a huge gate split is perfectly acceptable in the NCAA.
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Re: OT: ESPN feature on the WFL

Post by MGB01 »

It kind of pumps the league up to the point of ridiculousness. "Damn near kneecapped the NFL" is a stretch. Sure it took the Dolphins down a peg (not like the Steelers or Raiders wouldn't have anyway), but way too disorganized.

But it's not everyday you get articles that include Dusty Rhodes and it isn't the American Dream (who also played in the Continental Football League) or the Giants left fielder/'54 Series star who he was named for. So there's that.
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