Expansion 2021?

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Re: Expansion 2021?

Post by johnnyangryfuzzball » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:46 pm

youngorst wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:11 pm
Firecop wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:24 am
Certainly not too soon to discuss or even plan for - I hope the league is doing so. IMO though, waaaay too soon to implement in the first 3 years of operation. I enjoy the speculation as to where an expanded league might go to.
Can you name a modern American sports startup (that was not specifically founded as a minor league) that did not expand within its first 3 years of its founding?

The WNBA went from 8 teams to 12 by year 3 and has remained at least 12 teams ever since.

MLS (which even the XFL says they are emulating) started at 10 teams got to 12 teams by year 3 and when they had to fold 2 teams years later they got back to 12 teams within 3 seasons again.

MLR (rugby) started at 7 teams in 2018, already has at least 12 confirmed teams for 2020.

The NWSL planned quick expansion but it has had a difficult time getting investors to put the money up.

MLL (Lacrosse) is the only American sports startup I can find founded since MLS that hadn't at least planned to expand quickly and frankly MLL is not a national product in anyway, shape, or form.

Add that to the fact that McMahan was planning to go to 10 teams in 2002 (DC and Detroit were to be added) had he been able to work out a TV deal post-NBC and I'd say the evidence would suggest that part of the initial funding almost certainly includes expansion.

Look, we can argue rather they 'should' wait too expand but the evidence suggests that 12 teams is the number you need to have any credibility as a 'national' league. Even most college sports conferences see the need for at least 12 teams for 'national' TV deals even though they are essentially regional leagues.

8 teams is the perfect 'proof of concept' number of teams but to be a credible national league you need at least 12. The league has massive geographic holes to fill (midwest, south, mountain time zone, and Bay Area) even getting to 12 teams won't fill all the holes but it would help dramatically. Fans in the Mountain time zone and to a lesser extent the South may be used to watching and rooting for teams that aren't in close proximity to where they live but no one in the midwest is going to adopt St. Louis or New York as a team and no one in the Bay Area is going to root for an LA or Seattle team so those holes need to be filled quickly to succeed as a national product.
In general, I agree with you, but let's also remember that the main reason leagues want to expand is to net expansion money for the existing franchises. For a single entity league, there's no financial benefit to doing so... so as long as the one and only investor in the XFL is one Vincent K. McMahon, there's not going to be a financial benefit. Plus you also have the question of whether there is enough professional-caliber talent to stock twelve football teams on top of the ones playing in the NFL and CFL.

The only way expansion in a single-entity league can be a financial benefit is if it brings in more revenue than it costs. If they can get a supplemental TV deal that pays money, then they can expand. If, for example, bringing back the Orlando Rage is both a success in itself and restarts the War on I-4 with the Tampa Bay Vipers and thus increases attendance for them as well, then it makes sense to expand. But expanding for the sake of expanding because people say "you need 12 teams to be considered a serious league" is pointless. The CFL has survived with eight or nine teams for 60+ years, and other than the ill-fated 90s era, the only serious discussion for expansion has been in the Maritimes. An 8-to-10-team league is absolutely viable.

MLS was a single-entity league at first. It thus saw no benefit from expansion. When it started bringing in more investors and granted them more autonomy over their franchises, the expansion derby began and, to date, has never stopped. It's now dependent on that money (since its TV viewership is dismal compared to its attendance) and thus if they stop expanding, they might collapse. The CFL is another example: the only thing expansion was good for them for was the expansion fees.

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