Does America need more pro football?
Backed by PayPal cofounder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel, another new pro football league is launching -- the Alliance of American Football. It hopes to start next year, right after the Super Bowl on February 9, 2019.
The league already has a media partner for its regular-season games -- CBS cable channel, CBS Sports Network. The CBS broadcast network will air the league's debut game on February 9, and the league's championship game in April 2019.
League executives at a New York press conference describe it as a feeder system to the NFL. Players will not be locked into long-term deals and seasons will end in April -- before the start of the summer NFL training camps.
In January, Vince McMahon, chairman of wrestling entertainment company WWE, announced plans to relaunch the XFL for 2020. Currently, it doesn’t have a media partner.
McMahon is funding the entire relaunch. He started the original XFL in 2001, which ran for one season. At that time, it was a 50-50 deal between the World Wrestling Federation and NBC.
The NFL experienced a decline of around 10% in national TV viewership this past season.
For the 2017 NFL regular season, advertising revenue dropped 1.2% to $2.42 billion among four TV networks -- CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN (not including the NFL Network) -- according to Standard Media Index.
SMI says it was the first time since tracking the big sports franchise that the league has seen a drop. In 2016, SMI says, the NFL regular season totaled $2.45 billion; in 2015, $2.38 billion; and for 2014, $2.17 billion.