While World Wrestling Federation Entertainment is pushing hard to fix its ratings-impaired XFL, President Linda McMahon said the company could scrap it after the end of the season.
Speaking at Bear Stearns' annual media investment conference in Boca Raton, McMahon noted that league co-owner NBC has pledged to carry the games for two years. WWF execs, however, "are committed through this first season, but we're taking a look at it on a week-by-week basis."
In her presentation detailing all sorts of aspects of the company, McMahon managed to avoid discussing the XFL until someone in the audience asked a question. Acknowledging that the 75% or so ratings decline from the first game is due to weak games, McMahon contended that critics are being too harsh, too early. The league "can't be treated or looked at like a television pilot," she said. "It takes time to build a brand. It takes time to build player awareness, it takes time to develop the stars."
The company has launched new audience research to examine why former viewers have left games and why fans are sticking around. "I think we have to evealuate the viability of the product in the marketplace."
- John Higgins