Reports that Vince McMahon has sold $100 million of stock in WWE, the publicly traded company he has run since 1982, apparently for the purpose of relaunching the XFL, is welcome news indeed to football fans across the country who have abandoned the social justice warrior political operation formerly known as the National Football League.
The wrestling impresario will reportedly provide no details on his potential new venture until January 25, 2018 at the earliest. While it is not clear if he plans to compete directly with the NFL in the fall, such direct competition–offering a celebration of American exceptionalism through the sport of professional football–would be welcomed by those football fans and voters who chose to Make America Great Again by electing Donald Trump President of the United States in November 2016.
“Vince McMahon has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football. Mr. McMahon has nothing further to announce at this time,” a spokesperson for WWE told Breitbart News on Friday.
McMahon appears intent on resurrecting the XFL brand for the league he launched for one interesting but unsuccessful season in 2001, in partnership with NBC, but MAGAFL is a branding that is likely to resonate even more powerfully with his target market–traditional Americans who love football but are sick and tired of the social justice warriors who play in, own, and run the NFL.
“Any XFL reboot would also benefit significantly from the ‘bully pulpit’ they would have in President Trump. The president has ripped the NFL over the anthem protests, and criticized the league as much as any chief executive has ever criticized a sports league. Meaning, that any rival football league would almost assuredly be backed by the full faith and credit of the most powerful Twitter account in the world,”Breitbart News reported when news that McMahon was considering a challenge to the NFL broke.
It is hard to find a brand whose value has declined more dramatically over the past three years than the NFL, which for half a century has been the king of professional sports in America.
Television ratings are down, advertising revenues are down, and attendance is down.
The proximate cause has been the failure of the league to stop the public display of disdain for the country and the fans shown by virtue signaling millionaires who kneel, rather than stand, for the national anthem.
Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to start the refusal to stand for the national anthem trend back in August 2016, as NFL Media reported at the time:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick is no longer in the league–though he has expressed an interest in joining the group that wants to purchase the Carolina Panthers–but this year the virtue signaling national anthem kneeling trend has spread to every team and almost every game.
Depending on the weekend, anywhere from a handful to a hundred well paid athletes kneel down or refuse to stand for the national anthem.
President Trump made headlines at a rally this September in Huntsville, Alabama when he said the owners should fire any player who kneels down when the national anthem is played, but the president was not blazing a new trail by saying that. He was, instead, articulating the view of most of the football fans who voted for him.
The core fans of the NFL are patriotic, and they don’t like to see the players, the announcers, the owners, or Commissioner Roger Goodell insult their country.
A recent poll conducted by the American Faith & Culture Institute spells big trouble for the NFL when it comes to fan perceptions of the league’s patriotism: Only 18 percent of the poll’s respondents considered the NFL to be a very patriotic organization.
Views of the NFL are politically polarized. Only 10 percent of conservatives consider the NFL very patriotic, while 30 percent of liberals consider it very patriotic.
The owners of the 32 franchises that comprise the NFL–some of the most valuable sports properties in the world–have for decades increased the value of their franchises by running the league like a socialist monopoly. In that effort, they have been aided by politicians at every level. Federal politicians have helped maintain the league’s partial antitrust exemption, while state and local politicians have lavished huge taxpayer subsidies on state-of-the art stadiums in which the teams play.
It is no coincidence that Democratic President Bill Clinton’s former press secretary Joe Lockhart was hired by the NFL in January 2016 as executive vice president of communications.
Nor is it inconsistent with the socialist governance of the league that the owners have chosen to give Commissioner Goodell–the man most responsible for the demise of the NFL brand–a lavish contract extension that may compensate him at $200 million over five years to keep on doing what he has been doing to the league until at least 2024.
For all these reasons, McMahon, who has a keen sense of marketing, is right that now is the time to consider launching a serious rival to the NFL.
Here are eight keys to success for McMahon–or any potential rival seeking to take fans and advertisers away from the stumbling and out-of-touch NFL–to consider as they contemplate how to dethrone that fading sports institution:
- Compete directly with the NFL in the fall, not the spring.
- Focus on traditional rules and style of play, including mandatory standing by players for the national anthem.
- Build your brand around traditional American values. MAGAFL, for instance, fits that bill better than XFL.
- Recruit players people know, like, and will root for.
- Place franchises in cities with high populations of Trump supporters.
- Select network broadcast partners who are not part of the anti-Trump mainstream media.
- Find advertisers who support traditional American values, like Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby.
- Hire announcers who focus on football and support traditional American values.
Compete Directly with the NFL
Football is a fall sport.
Not since 1975, the year the short-lived World Football League folded, has a major outdoor professional football league competed against the NFL in the fall. The USFL, which lasted for three seasons, from 1983 to 1985, played in the spring and summer; and the XFL played its only season (2001) in the spring. (President Trump owned the New Jersey Generals franchise in the USFL during the 1984 and 1985 seasons.)
NFL ratings and attendance are down because many fans just don’t want to be forced to watch social justice warriors preen for the cameras as they criticize the country.
Football fans want to watch football, and they don’t want to hear or think about politics, especially from an arrogant and spoiled athlete who has a decidedly different political world view.
In 2017, a number of die-hard football fans are simply not watching the NFL on Sunday afternoon. They may be watching more college football on Saturday, but they are doing something else on Sunday.
They would like to watch football on Sunday, so give them something to watch!
Mandatory Rule: All Players Stand for the National Anthem
The whole point of an alternative league to the NFL is captured by this one simple rule. Fans want to watch good football, and they want to see it played by traditional rules by players who demonstrate good sportsmanship.
As for the quality of play, NFL teams are going to be much better for several seasons than any rival league. But, as long as a rival league is presenting quality, well played football in a setting that is not insulting to traditional American values, who cares if a hypothetical match up between an NFL team and a MAGAFL team would be a blow out?
Any NFL team would dominate almost any college football team, yet college football attendance and ratings remain very high.
Build the Brand Around Traditional American Values
When the XFL launch was announced back in 2000, McMahon offered this description of how he wanted to brand the new league to The New York Times, “If the National Football League stands for the ‘No Fun League,’ the XFL will be the extra fun league,” McMahon said. There will be a few rules tweaks, but nothing major, and no player will be fined for having his jersey out of his pants. Fun!
While fun is certainly a key element to incorporate in new brand that can challenge the declining, but still powerful, NFL behemoth, the announcement of fun alone by a new league will not be sufficient.
And as a brand, the overall quality of football played in the XFL was not considered all that great, so, there’s not a lot of value in the XFL brand, though “He Hate Me” has to be one of the most fun names ever for a football player.
So, Vince, if you’re reading this, consider leaving the XFL brand back in 2001, and adopting MAGAFL instead. After all, what’s more traditionally American than “Make America Great Again”?
Recruit Players People Know, Like, and Will Root For
Fans have favorite heroes they like to root for. Even if that hero is not the best player, they want to see if they can win.
Tim Tebow is the most obvious professional athlete who fits this category. He has charisma, star power, and a great many people like to watch him play sports.
Most experts in football say he never was an NFL caliber quarterback, but who can forget his last NFL start in January 2012 when he led the Denver Broncos to a sudden death victory in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a game-ending touchdown pass?
And of course, there is the recent phenomenon of his switch to professional baseball and the big increase in minor league attendance his forays into Class A baseball produced in Columbia, South Carolina and Port Lucie, Florida this past summer.
A lot of people in the country would like to watch Tim Tebow play professional football again, so why not give him a chance to be the starting quarterback for one of the new MAGAFL franchises in 2018? (Assuming, of course, that he is not otherwise engaged playing baseball.)
Other former NFL players people would be interested in following include Robert Griffin III and Mr. Football, Johnny Manziel.
And if MAGAFL has a metropolitan New York area franchise, why not take a run at Eli Manning?
One player who probably won’t be getting a call from the MAGAFL? Colin Kaepernick.
When this new rival league launches, hopefully in the fall of 2018, it is a good bet it will start with at least eight franchises.
The franchises should be dispersed geographically around the country, be located in mid-size to major markets, and should be in markets that have a large absolute number of Trump voters.
The two most obvious locations are good football markets that the NFL has abandoned recently: St. Louis and San Diego.
St. Louis has been home to two NFL franchises, both of which abandoned the city–the former St. Louis Cardinals NFL franchise is now the Arizona Cardinals, and the former St. Louis Rams franchise–which won the Super Bowl in 2000–is now, once again the Los Angeles Rams.
The San Diego Chargers abandoned the city that had been their home since 1962 just this past year, and are now known as the Los Angeles Chargers.
Missouri voted for Trump, though the city of St. Louis did not, so there are a number of Trump voters within a 100 mile radius of the now abandoned Edward Jones Stadium.
California, in contrast, overwhelmingly voted against Trump, by a 61 percent to 32 percent margin, so, at first glance, San Diego might come to mind as a great location for a MAGAFL franchise.
But there is a very high absolute number of Trump voters in San Diego County and two nearby counties–Riverside and Orange–that are within a 100 mile radius of the now empty Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.
Hillary Clinton won Riverside County, but barely, 49 percent to 45 percent. Her margin over Trump in nearby Orange County was not that much greater, 51 percent to 43 percent. San Diego County itself, however, was much closer to the state as a whole: Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump there by a margin of 56 percent to 38 percent.
Between these three counties, more than 1.1 million San Diego area residents voted for Donald Trump–more than enough to find 60,000 or so to fill up Jack Murphy Stadium for eight Sundays this coming fall.
Other markets to consider placing the six additional MAGAFL franchises to start the first season of play include Orlando, Florida; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Fort Worth, Texas; Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Canton/Cleveland, Ohio.
Network Broadcast Partners
The mainstream media networks that are “the opposition party” to President Trump–CBS, NBC, ABC/ESPN–are the three networks that broadcast most NFL games.
None of these should be considered as broadcast partners for the MAGAFL.
Fox is the only current NFL broadcaster to consider for MAGAFL broadcasts, either through Fox or Fox Sports.
One long shot worth considering as a broadcast partner is the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which is expanding its programming of late to include weekly shows from Mike Huckabee and Mike Rowe, the advocate of the trade jobs and other “dirty jobs” that many “deplorables” work.
Find Advertisers With Traditional American Values
A league that appeals to football fans who support traditional American values should attract advertisers who support traditional American values. Among consumer retailers, two companies stand out among conservatives as highly patriotic. 43 percent of conservatives consider Chick-Fil-A very patriotic, while 36 percent consider Hobby Lobby very patriotic.
These are two must have advertisers for the new league.
Hire Announcers People Know and Like
The current announcers who handle the play-by-play and color analysis for coverage of NFL games carried on NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN are excellent, for the most part, when it comes to providing fans with fast moving insights and analysis of what is happening on the field.
Almost to a person, however, they express a political world view that Trump voters find irritating.
The better broadcasters rarely let that political view point slip in to their coverage. But some just can not help themselves.
So when hiring broadcasters to handle the play-by-play and color analysis, look for two things: someone who knows the game, and someone who will never interject a liberal political opinion.
If MAGAFL launches in the fall of 2018 with at least eight new franchises and survives the first season with fans and advertisers, it will be well positioned to recruit existing NFL franchises for the second season in the fall of 2019.
While the legal hurdles that could prohibit the owner of an NFL franchise from taking the franchise intact and leaving the NFL to join the MAGAFL are quite possibly insurmountable, can you imagine the success the MAGAFL might have against the NFL in the 2019 season if it were able to add several NFL franchises to the MAGAFL fold? Here are a few possible franchise locations that come to mind: the Dallas Cowboys, the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots, the Houston Texans, the New York Jets.
America just might be ready for that kind of football.