NFL May Have to Shift Developmental Focus

With the constant talk of a rival football league (the United Football League) being started by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, what many people must understand is that any new product needs national exposure. When Vince McMahon jumpstarted the XFL, there was a television network available (NBC) that was in need of programming and didn’t have any NFL affiliation. The XFL product paled in comparison to the NFL despite its hype. And we all know that McMahon knows how to entertain and make money with pro wrestling. Well, that’s totally different now. All four major networks now televise the NFL, which means the new league would have to resort to cable or organize an independent-channel buy-in. Yes, there are some big cities without the NFL, but does anyone really think that Los Angeles would be viable for a new league?

What this could do, though, is get the NFL to focus on having its developmental league in the U.S. If there’s truly a chance of a 17-game schedule and multiple games being played in London and several German cities, the league should give up NFL Europa (Commissioner Goodell has never been a big supporter) and move it stateside. Given the choice, many European fans would prefer NFL regular-season games to the minor-league variety. From a financial standpoint it would make good business sense and also would give some of the larger markets without a NFL franchise (Los Angeles, San Antonio, Memphis, etc.) the opportunity to get a taste of pro football; granted it wouldn’t be NFL-grade football but it wouldn’t exactly be the XFL or Arena ball either. The NBA, NHL and MLB have minor league systems stateside (which are very successful by the way) – why not the NFL?


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