Vince McMahon's spring football league the XFL announced the broadcast partners for the inaugural season next February. The opening weekend games will air on ABC and FOX with other games airing on ESPN and FS1.
This is a huge deal for a startup league to sign broadcast agreements with not only one but two broadcast networks plus ESPN and FOX Sports 1.
The original XFL games in the early 2000s aired on NBC and UPN (May it rest in peace).
The Alliance of American Football's (AAF) biggest problem was no one knew when the games were on or where fans could watch the action. Each week the games aired at different times on different days on small networks like CBS Sports Network, NFL Network and sometimes on the Bleacher Report app.
Most Americans don't receive the CBS Sports Network in their cable package. If they do, no one knows how to find it on their channel lineup.
The XFL 2.0 is more organized with better leadership than the first time around. McMahon has taken his time and not just thrown it together like he did the first time around.
Only McMahon could've pulled off the TV deal the XFL just signed. No one else has the influence to pulled that off.
Of course, only time will tell if the XFL can find a TV audience and grow a fan base. However, no other spring league has ever pulled off a massive TV contract like the XFL did today. If you want to develop an audience, you have to be on big networks, which the AAF learned quickly. Otherwise, you just become a footnote on the failed football leagues page on Wikipedia.
The XFL has the best chance ever of any spring league startup to actually make spring football work.
Chad Whittle, Ph.D. holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his daily column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.