XFL Case Study
In just one season, the XFL turned from idea to failure. While there are many reasons to failure, I believe the lack of talent and leadership, being a fox in relationship to the hedgehog concept, as well as positioning, were the main issues.
Vince McMahon, the owner of the WWFE and XFL showed very few level 5 leadership characteristics. He was very loud and attention-loving, always taking responsibility for the success of his company. He showed very little personal humility or professional will. When creating the XFL, McMahon followed the what first, then who mentality. He created rules, teams, and a general attitude of the league and broadcasts before having any players, coaches, owners, or announcers in place. McMahon believed he could create his own stars no matter who they were coming in. To be a success, you need the who first, then the what; a mentality McMahon was lacking.
As Atlanta Consultant John Bevilaque stated, the WWFE “was stepping into an area that is really beyond their current expertise.” The NFL was king: 41% of Americans claimed watching it as their favorite leisure sports activity. The XFL was going to bring football to its roots; a response to the overregulation of the NFL. New rules promised a wide open, fast paced game that fans would love. It would encourage individuality and create stars. The problem was that they didn’t have the players to do it. They had NFL “has-been” and “never-were” players. There was no way that the XFL could be the best in the world at producing football games. In the end, what they had was “regular football, and not very good football.” There were many low scoring games, including a 19-0, scoreless 2nd half game on opening week. Some weeks had games where no team scored over 18 points. No one wanted to watch low scoring, boring football games. Owner Vince McMahon was clearly growing for growth sake, actually viewing it as a “logical extension of the WWF.” Their...
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