XFL CEO and Commissioner, Oliver Luck, joined the Dan Sileo Show today to discuss the downfall of the AAF. Sileo started the segment talking about how Oliver Luck was the first person he thought of as he watched the AAF official fold this week.
Oliver Luck started off by saying “There’s no dancing on the grave of the AAF for the XFL”. They were rooting for the AAF to succeed, stating that he feels terrible for all of the employees that were depending on those paychecks to make ends-meet.
“At the end of the day, it shows how hard it is to build and sustain a league in the league”, Luck said.
He went on to say that for an alternative league to be successful, you need two things; time and money. Specifically mentioning NFL Europe, which had both due to it’s tie in with the NFL. He is confident that with McMahon’s capitol investment, they can be successful. McMahon’s influx of money, ensures they have the time to find the right people and create the best game.
Sileo then asked the question that everyone is thinking, will the XFL look at picking up any potential assets from the AAF?
Luck noted a few items as he approached that question. First, that there is approximately 400 players that are now free-agents, stating that they have already done scouting and have a good handle on which talent is worth pursuing. Second, was the quality of assistant coaches in the AAF. Luck confirmed that the XFL has definitely had contact with some of the Assistant Coaches, as well as other former staff. Lastly, was looking at picking up the hard-physical assets, things like video equipment, tackling dummies, etc, which will be useful as the XFL is in their building stage.
“If it can make out league better, we want it”, Luck said in regards to acquiring various AAF assets.
Continuing the conversation on the AAF, Luck stated that he liked the up-tempo game that the Alliance was playing, and said the XFL has been working on this for over a year and a half, but it was helpful to see the games in action. He then went on to say that they are currently testing various new techniques designed to make the games faster at The Spring League in Austin, TX.
Sileo brought up the ratings the Alliance achieved in it’s first week, touting that they had beat out the NBA and MLS. He thinks those ratings show that there is curiosity among the fans, but asked Luck if he thinks there is enough appetite for spring football to be sustainable.
“Absolutely”, said Luck, “It needs to be good though”.
He knows that the XFL will never be as attractive as the NFL, and they’re not trying to be. They want to offer good quality, family friendly, affordable games that people will be able to enjoy and find easily. Luck thought the AAF opening ratings were great, and said that it shows the importance of having your games on broadcast television. Luck once again stated that they are still in negotiations with broadcast partners, and again confirmed that the XFL will air two games on broadcast television and two on cable each week.
Sileos started wrapping up the interview by making the comparison that XFL is like a mixture of the USFL and NFL Europe. He thinks that with that combination that the XFL will peak the attention of a lot of fans, asking luck how he thinks the XFL can use the positives of those leagues while being sustainable.
Luck mentioned that this reminded him of something former Chiefs owner, Lamaar Hunt said to him at an NFL Europe meeting, “Always remember who you are, and never forget who you’re not”. He said he is using that advice as he goes into the XFL, they are not the NFL and they are not a minor league. Their goal, as he mentioned above, is to have a fast-paced, family-friendly game that is affordable from the tickets to the concessions. With McMahon, they don’t need to focus on funding, so they use their energy to build their local franchises. The plan is and always will be to be a sustainable, long lasting league. Luck ended the interview by saying that he knows this is a great challenge, but he thinks they are going to be able to pull it off.
You can listen to the full interview below: