As we start to wrap our heads around a world that includes both the XFL and the new Alliance of American football, I wanted to run through news I’ve been chewing over before Tuesday’s bombshell announcement.
XFL retains Lou D’Ermilio LOUD Communications
The XFL has hired Lou D’Ermilio to provide communication services, according to a recent story by the WY Daily. D’Ermilio spent over two decades in communications and media relations for Fox Sports, leaving in 2016 and starting LOUD Communications, which he describes as “a boutique sports communications firm providing strategic, personalized, senior level communications services.” It would be dangerous to read too much into his ties to Fox Sports, but it’s worth noting that there’s a lot of chatter around WWE moving from NBC Universal to Fox Sports after the current broadcast rights agreement expires in 2019.
Virginia Beach stadium lobbies for XFL team
The same WY Daily story included some quotes from Chuck Thornton, the managing partner of the company that operates the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, which hosted the UFL’s Virginia Destroyers in 2011 and 2012.
“We think we could be a good fit for the XFL, … We haven’t been contacted, but we have tried to reach out to them through some back channels to some people we know. … We could’ve sold 20,000-25,000 seats [for the Destroyers]. It really showed how much of a football town we are.”
The fact that they’re publicly lobbying for an XFL team likely means that they never even engaged in a conversation with Alliance. I’m not surprised. It’s true that the Destroyers drew relatively well, but the stadium is too small (it was expanded to ~15,000 seats for the Destroyers) and has a sheen on the playing surface that makes it look terrible on television. Even if the stadium weren’t an issue — Norfolk’s Foreman Field would work in a pinch — the media market is too small and carries too little prestige nationwide to make sense for the first round of teams.
Arena Football League finalizes new collective bargaining agreement
The Arena Football League will indeed move forward with their four-team, everyone-makes-the-playoffs season after finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union. Exact terms weren’t announced, but it seems players salaries will be boosted $1,500-2,000 a game, players will earn $350 a week during training camp, and all players will enjoy full healthcare.
The money is supposedly about twice what they earned last season, but it’s still far from what the XFL figures to pay. In 2001, XFL players earned a base of $4,500 a week (quarterbacks earned $5,000 and kickers $3,500) and could earn a $2,500 bonus for a regular season win and $7,500 for a semifinal win. The league champions split a $1,000,000 prize, which came out to roughly $25,000 per player.