The new XFL football season starting on February 8th, 2020 marks an immense amount of potential partnership opportunities for brands. In February 2001, the XFL’s initial debut, the league broadcast racked up over 54 million views while tacking on a 9.5 Nielsen rating, according to the New York Times. Although this particular football league may not draw in as many views as the prominent National Football League, it still casts a wide reach across the nation and will be viewed by millions.
With a smaller budget and less revenue than its competitor, this allows smaller brands to get in on the ground floor of a sports league with exponential potential rather than shelling out millions of dollars to partner with the NFL. For example, the XFL has been rumored to be nearing a deal with the athletic apparel brand, Starter. The Starter athletic brand fell on hard times in the '90s and was sold to Nike, but was acquired by Iconix in 2007. Now 12 years later, the brand is set to be supplying the new XFL with all off-field merchandise for their 8 rebranded teams. As a company smaller than Nike, Adidas, and other larger athletic companies, it would be unfeasible for Starter to have a deal of the same nature as the NFL. The smaller size of the XFL allowed a smaller company in Starter a chance to get its name back out there and break into the pro sports industry once again, an opportunity the larger leagues cannot offer to small businesses.
The NFL does have a larger viewership base and is more profitable than the XFL but the cost to partner with the league comes at an immense cost. For reference, Microsoft paid $400 million dollars to become the NFL’s official sideline technology and Anheuser-Busch InBev paid roughly $1 billion to become the NFL’s official beer sponsor. These immense deals are extremely profitable but obviously come with a tremendous cost that a large portion of businesses cannot pay. The XFL offers marketing opportunities that still reach millions of fans and viewers, allowing mass growth for brand awareness and potential new business, while keeping the cost marginally lower than it would to partner with the National Football League.
Not only does the XFL possibly offer more bang for your buck but it also allows for partnering brands to get in on the ground floor. The XFL has TV deals with ESPN and FOX and eight franchises with all-new team logos, making it primed for a successful new rebrand relaunch of their brand. With this, the XFL is finally coming back into the sports arena and has the potential for massive growth in viewership and brand size that could prove bountiful for any companies that are insightful enough to get in on the ground floor. Not only does the league itself have the potential for massive growth, but the athletes in the league do as well.
With current XFL athletes striving to prove their worth to NFL teams, partnering with individual athletes that graduate into the NFL, later on, would allow brands to get in on the ground floor with athletes on the rise. Overall, the XFL offers smaller and emerging businesses a chance to vastly grow their brand through professional football for a fraction of the cost of the NFL.