While the XFL has a very good TV deal that will get all their games broadcast on such recognizable places such as ABC, FOX, ESPN, and FS1, the TV deal does not provide them any of the advertising revenue the networks receive.
This is not surprising as a new league and they have no leverage to use with the networks. They will need to build up their product and show TV viability before they can cash that in with a deal to includes advertising money. In the meantime, the XFL needs to sell tickets, merchandise, and in-stadium merchandise to bring in revenue. This will keep the league going for the first few years.
The XFL has outsourced their sales for sponsorships and tickets to marketing firms that specialize in such things. This ensures they will get the most out of ticket and sponsorship sales opportunities, but also reduces their control over it.
They do have direct control over their merchandise sales. A media source with contacts in the league advised me that the XFL is pleased with the level of merchandise sales at this time. But, it appears that the sales are not evenly distributed between their 8 teams.
A quick glimpse at the best-selling portion of the XFL Shop’s website (shop.xfl.com) makes it clear that there is a great disparity between some of the teams.
XFL Teams Ranking In Sales
1) St Louis Battlehawks – per my source it appears that St Louis is far ahead in merchandise sales. The city has really gotten behind their team and after being scorned by the NFL. They may be looking to show their viability as a football market by rallying behind the XFL.
2) Seattle Dragons – despite some people not liking the name, the Dragons have seen their sales increase as of late and currently sit on the list in second place. After this, 3-5 are actually very close and it sounds like they may change spots weekly.
3) Houston Roughnecks
4) NY Guardians – interesting note the Guardians are leading the league in hoodie sales, likely because of the colder weather in NY.
5) Dallas Renegades
6) DC Defenders – The Defenders have a good social media presence and have seen sales pick up lately. They are still though trailing with Renegades per my source.
7) Tampa Bay Vipers – My source advises there is a very sizeable gap between DC and Tampa and the gap appears to be growing.
8) Los Angeles Wildcats – The Wildcats sales have been lagging. Los Angeles has had issues drawing for their NFL football teams. It seems like the XFL will have its hands full in trying to get the city to buy into them.
The good news is that this is a single-entity league. Since this is a single entity league the money from all teams are still going to one place that feeds all of them. The wealth gets distributed as the league needs regardless of where the wealth is coming from.
No team will either prosper or suffer more than the others based on how the league is set up and the lack of individual franchise owners. It only matters therefore what the total sales for the entire league are on the grand scheme of things.
This is not to say that a team will be left where it is if it fails to help bring in cash. The single entity format also makes it easier to move a team if sales struggle over time as no votes or approval is needed to move anyone!
Overall, I am not really surprised by how each time is currently selling merchandise at this time. I would guess as time goes on the gaps will close and everything will eventually even out. Teams will change positions based on the markets should the league show they can sustain itself over multi-years.
I would also suspect ticket sales to mirror merchandise sales, though that is less clear at this point. The league needs to continue to keep itself visible in all their markets so their sales metrics grow across all categories
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