How the XFL can sack the Corona Virus
In the last 24 hours we have seen the NBA suspend its season due to NBA players testing positive for the coronavirus and in the Seattle area they are prohibiting public gatherings of more than 250 people. Many states are following these guidelines for public gatherings and the effects are starting to be felt across sporting events worldwide. La Liga, the famous Spanish soccer league, has followed the trend and put its season on hold for the next two weeks. So, what kind of effect will this have for a first year start up football league that is looking to ticket sales for vital revenue?
It's unclear how long the prohibiting of public gatherings will be in effect, but we've seen it extend to the end of March in some states such as California and Washington. The XFL, in its infant stage, had its sight set on ticket revenue to help propel it into Season 2 and beyond. It was announced last week that the St. Louis BattleHawks were going to open the upper levels of the dome for their home game against the Los Angeles Wildcats on March 21st due to high demand, but it looks like that might not happen now. St. Louis has already canceled its St. Patrick's Day parade and the NCAA has already said it will not allow fans to attend the NCAA tournament games, which are being held in St. Louis. The BattleHawks have 3 remaining home games with a potential Playoff game in the near future and the revenue that would have been generated from those potential sellout games is a huge loss for the XFL and the city of St. Louis.
It's not all doom and gloom though for the XFL. By restricting the ability for fans to go to the games and other sports leagues shutting down the season entirely, this will allow television viewership to potentially rise and bring in new starving sports fans. The next few weeks are vital for the XFL to get their foot in the door and to impress new eyes that otherwise wouldn't have watched the XFL. The circumstances aren't favorable, but the opportunity to grow is. Since Week 1, game play continues to trend up and the on-field product is the best it's ever been. Fans who have never heard of a P.J. Walker or Josh Johnson will get a chance to sample what we all have been raving about.
The other side of the coin to this scenario would be that the XFL will have to shut down out of fear of the potential spread of coronavirus and take a hit on what has been a great startup year. Ratings are steady, attendance is slightly trending upward in some markets, and football fans are loving Spring football. While an early exit won't put the XFL in the grave, it will give naysayers an opportunity to talk about how the XFL didn't make it through the first season and will be all doom and gloom. The best scenario for the XFL would be to pull in new starving sports fans every week and by the time the playoffs arrived, there would be huge interest in the league. It's an ill wind they say, "The fire destroyed half the village. For the builder's business has never been better." The XFL might just find a win out of this gloomy scenario.
Trey Silvola is Editor-in-chief at Hundred Yard Report. You can follow Hundred Yard Report on Twitter or Instagram.