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Kevin SeifertNFL Nation
Close ESPN.com national NFL writer ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013 Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008
The USFL. The World League. The United Football League. The XFL 1.0. And now the Alliance of American Football.
Since the 1970 merger between the AFL and NFL, every attempt at building a large-scale alternative football league has failed. No one has figured it out — and yet they never stop trying.
Next up is XFL 2.0, set to begin play in February 2020. It’s backed by a $500 million investment from owner Vince McMahon, led by an experienced commissioner in Oliver Luck and built on a McKinsey Global Institute research study that found up to 40 million avid fans who crave more football after the NFL season ends.
Industry analysts agree those credentials give the XFL a chance, but the long and one-way history of similar endeavors imposes powerful inertia nonetheless.
“Anybody that thinks that there’s an unquestionable market for spring football is delusional,” said David M. Carter, principal of The Sports Business Group and an associate professor of sports business at USC. “There have been some credible people