Leagues like the NFL have more than a century of history and have evolved into multibillion-dollar organizations — but they all started from humble beginnings. Many ambitious startup leagues have attempted to duplicate that magic only to realize that running a sports league is no easy feat. Some failed startup leagues organized around existing sports. Others created imaginative and unfamiliar new athletic contests. All, however, have an interesting story — and maybe even lessons you can learn from their failures.
The brainchild of WWE boss Vince McMahon (back then it was the WWF), the XFL lasted for only a single season in 2001 — and then many years after that, it came back to start a season in 2020.
When the league started, McMahon used the age-old twin marketing devices of sex and violence — which he successfully employed to make wrestling a multibillion-dollar global enterprise — to sell … Read More