Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2002

Introducing ... The XFL!

by Susan M. Fournier, Stephen A. Greyser and Seth Schulman


When the XFL professional football league debuted on February 3, 2001, it generated a Nielsen rating of 10.1, higher than any nationally televised program in a Saturday evening time slot. The next week, ratings plummeted, and by week nine the XFL game earned the title as the lowest rated sports event in television history. Co-owners WWFE and NBC officially disbanded the XFL on May 10, 2001. What went wrong? How could two seasoned and respected figures in entertainment--WWFE's Vince McMahon and NBC's Dick Ebersol--have miscalculated so badly?

Keywords: Advertising; Forecasting and Prediction; Product Positioning; Consumer Behavior; Product Development; Culture; Commercialization;


Fournier, Susan M., Stephen A. Greyser, and Seth Schulman. "Introducing ... The XFL!" Harvard Business School Case 503-015, July 2002.