XFL R.I.P.

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It was sudden death last week for the fledgling Xtreme Football League as World Wrestling Federation Entertain-ment and NBC pulled the plug on the failed football league. We asked industry experts what lessons marketers can learn from the venture's demise.

"Don't promise violence and not deliver it. They should have had one player on each team armed with a gun. And the cheerleaders should have been naked. People would have stuck with it. You have to have a product. They promised a lot. They talked a lot. They got great trial. They didn't deliver."

-Jerry Della Femina, chairman, Della Femina/Rothschild/Jeary & Partners, New York

"It was a great idea that carried itself without the research we normally do before launching a product. They thought the trappings-the goodlooking cheerleaders and the pseudo-violence-would corral the audience, not the performance. They were more into form than substance."

-Philip Kotler, professor-marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University

"They got the best publicity that actually turned out to be the worst publicity. The promise was great, then the fig leaf was pulled away. The game was too violent and too boring at the same time. There was no fan base, no skills, no well-known names. The lesson: don't over-hype."

-Howard J. Rubenstein, president, Rubenstein Associates, New York

"We tried to figure out every conceivable way to make this work. Had we had more time we may have been able to do things differently."

-Vince McMahon, chairman, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, XFL founder (at last week's press conference)

"You can't manufacture enthusiasm. The XFL was a manufactured concept. Everything was dialed-up, phony. They were trying too hard. It was like dot-coms that wanted to be a brand in one quarter. They wanted instant success. They found a good, quick way to kill themselves."

-Rich Silverstein, co-chairman, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

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