XFL Is Down for the Count

ByABC News
May 14, 2001, 2:11 PM

May 11 -- XFL, we hardly knew ye. The extreme football league has been crushed into oblivion after only one season, losing $70 million in the process.

The XFL, co-sponsored by NBC and the World Wrestling Federation, was not picked up for a second year on UPN, a move that WWF chairman Vince McMahon said was "the straw that broke the camel's back."

Dismal ratings dogged the nouveau league since its debut. UPN told Variety that it refused to pick up the games for Sunday afternoon because it would have lost a significant amount of advertising time typically sold within the network's Sunday afternoon movies.

NBC, which aired the XFL showdowns on Saturday during prime-time, had previously told McMahon it would not slot the games next year.

The poor Nielsen performance of the XFL's games made it a commercial flop; according to Variety, the league had to donate about a third of its ad spots as make-goods because the ratings fell so far below the guarantees to advertisers.

McMahon said the XFL's demise will allow him to focus on his next beefy sports venture, World Championship Wrestling, which the WWF recently bought from AOL-Time Warner.

Reuters contributed to this story.