Just because it’s the week of the Super Bowl doesn’t mean everything needs to be about the NFL. Our favorite CEO and Commissioner Oliver Luck made the rounds this Super Bowl week and we’ve tried to boil it all down into one high-level post. Over the last three days Luck has bounced from one interview to another, here are the good tidbits to come out of those.
On Why The XFL Was Appealing To Him:
“I love football and respect football and when Vince McMahon decided he wanted to relaunch the XFL, I thought it was a great opportunity to start from scratch. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Vince has great vision and he’s an entrepreneur. But, he’s the first one to tell you he doesn’t really know football…. He wanted experienced folks to build the game and have credibility in the football space which is obviously important.”
On If He Believes Vince McMahon Will Be A Hands On Owner:
“It’s vertically integrated – that’s what the experts say. So, it’s Vince owns and operates all of the franchises. I’m in the process of identifying head coaches and developing the team identities, logos, colors and names. We’re starting to hire team presidents and get local operations up and running.”
On Team Composition & Salaries:
“Each roster will have roughly 25 people on the football side and 25 people on the business side. Salary for coaches will be around $500,000 and salary for the top players around $250,000. Players will also be drug tested for performance enhancing substances.”
On The Caliber of Coaches
“We will soon be announcing our head coaches and we have a number of them already signed up”. He follows this up later in the interview by stating that the coaches that they will be signing up are former NFL head coaches and former head coaches at major college programs. He stated that these said will be announced soon and that the coaches will add great credibility to the league.
On Handling Officiating
The XFL is going to have a 9 person officiating crew with one official being placed in the truck to handle all replays or missed calls. The idea is for all reviews to be completed within 30 seconds or less. An idea that was championed by legendary NFL owner Dan Rooney.
On What They Can Learn From The Previous Failure Of The XFL:
“It was 18 years ago. Life has changed and our sensitivities have changed. Nobody was talking about head trauma back in 2001 and now they are.”
Is the XFL a Developmental league?
“Vince wants to develop a sustainable, standalone league. He doesn’t want to be a developmental league. I ran a developmental league for 10 years,” Luck said. “But I think Vince’s mindset is to build something that can last and sustain itself on its own without any support from the NFL or anyone else.”
On How the XFL Plans to Implement Fantasy and Gambling
“Vince McMahon owns a minority stake in Draft Kings. Therefore, they want to legalize gambling on games and host the betting through that website. The league’s plan is to encourage legalized gambling on their football games. If we can’t get that done, then we could just do fantasy games on the XFL via Draft Kings, but we want to do both.”
On Broadcast Partners and Availability
“We have some very special broadcast partners that we should be able to announce within the week, or two at the latest. You can expect to see 2-4 games on both over the air and cable TV on a weekly basis. There will also be an app available of some sort.”
On Ticket Prices
“We want ticket prices to be affordable for the whole family. Games are getting more expensive every year, out goal is to have tickets as low as $25.
The XFL has hired Dr. Julian Bailes to be the league’s lead neurologist. Bailes is the former team physician of The Pittsburgh Steelers. He also spent 11 years at West Virginia. Bales is a founding member and director of The Brain Injury Research Institute. He has also been a consultant for the NFL players association.
The Tampa team name has already been selected. Luck wouldn’t reveal it but said that the selected name was uniquely suited to The Tampa region. There were no mentions around the other cities names.
There’s a lot to take in, and a lot more to come. As mentioned earlier and in this post, broadcast partners are coming soon. It sounds like we have coaches on board. I wouldn’t doubt if we have some type of announcement the day after the Super Bowl to shed some more light. Before I let you go, I’ll leave you with something the XFL teased us with on Instagram.