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XFLROCKS!home page commentary virtual commish where are they now?

Guest Column:

Mississippi State broadcast journalism student Mark Harris evaluates things that the XFL neglected early in the season...

The current communications situation right now for the XFL is not very good. They have done an all right job with it, but not many people know about the league. The emphasis being this is a television sport rather than filling the stands they are failing so far. It is almost like they are waiting for the league to start and let the league to spin on its own. There has not been much PR from an external standpoint except for general press releases and getting some of the community involved. We looked through several cities that have teams like Memphis and there is little about press coverage and promotional type activities.

They have focused more on the internal factors it seems like because the players can do what they want which can promote themselves on there own. They get extra pay for winning games. This league was just started, but it is disappointing to see the lack of PR from them. Most of the information is found on the web site, which contains little about what their stance is. The content is good on the web sites but too brief it does not explain future promotions like autograph signings, etc.

The organizational goals of the XFL from a short-term standpoint are.
1. Target 18-34 year old males
2. Gain good T.V. ratings
3. Market its players.
4. Merchandise

The long-term goals of the XFL are
1. Target all people
2. Fill The Stadiums
3. Win time slots and gain great ratings
4. Add New teams
5. Expand into Canada and Mexico

We agree with these objectives, but so far have yet to see any good results. The long-term goals are good but the short-term goals they are not doing a good job of. One goal we would put down on short term was to advertise the XFL and players, but they have not done much as promoting the league. There has been no mention of much community involvement or with local charities. It seems like they do not care. All they care about is making it like wrestling. All that matters is what is seen on television only.

The XFL target market is a male 18-35. The reason is that they want to catch the same demographic that watches wrestling and bring them over to football. They want to bring this same audience that watches NFL over to the XFL because it is football, but it provides a different kind of entertainment.

The community has not been talked much about from the information that we read. We have gotten on line and looked at several newspapers and seen that there is little publicity about the team in that city. The only things we have seen with community engagement are for people to meet the new cheerleaders at the Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis. As far as dealing with the promoting the players the XFL is doing a poor to decent job. These players did not make it in other football leagues or are getting their first shot. They only make 45,000 dollars a year, but if they shine in the league they can move up to the NFL or make a good living in the XFL being a star and if there personality really catches on with a community that helps promote the team.

We did not like the direction the XFL is going in considering it has just started. Little has been done at all from a good PR standpoint. Here is the plan that we propose that should go in effect immediately.

There are 8 cities in the league all of which will have their own public relations (PR) team. The national PR will take the national level and advise the local PR teams. There are several steps the XFL needs to take immediately. The first is to advertise on a national level. Advertising for this league is the most important part of its success right now. Most people have probably never heard of this league. So we would suggest advertising on MTV, which is a younger generation that is interested in wrestling and would have an interest in this. Other channels that we would like to advertise on if allowed would be during NFL games especially Monday Night Football, and possibly during the Super Bowl. It would be good if the XFL could have a commercial during the Super Bowl it would let everyone know about the league that starts in February. If ABC and the NFL refuses to sell advertising time than we would focus on advertising during college football bowl games. Basically the XFL needs to let people know about the to spark interest and get people tuned in before the season. To get audiences hopefully outside of the demographic tuned in. It will be only a success if the XFL can garner a large demographic of men and woman 18-45. We cannot emphasize enough that the most important issue is advertising.

We want the local community to surround the team, embrace them and make the team a part of the community, something they can be proud of, much like the support NFL teams have with their local communities. If the XFL can get the cities to get the people to fill the stands and get the local people enthusiastic and into the game, then the national audience sees this. The players will play on a higher level, people will talk about the league on all media outlets and word of mouth will spread. Local advertising will consist of radio, television, and billboard ads. We will make sure there are daily presses releases concerning rumors, how practice went, etc.

Another plan of action to take would be to get out and promote the product. We will have a store setup in the middle of the mall setup that sells merchandise. Most of the players are from the local areas of the teams, which will help. An example is the Memphis Maniax will have a setup that sells shirts, caps, and all kinds of stuff. Also we will hand out pamphlets for season ticket orders, and included in the brochure will be information on the league the rules and also information about the local team. Players will also be used to promote by going to radio stations and being on television. Also going around town signing autographs and passing out pamphlets. To create a broader market will have players go to malls and stores in surrounding cities near Memphis. We would send players to Tupelo like Kevin Prentiss, and Kevin Sluder who had good careers at Mississippi State. They would go to the mall to promote the Memphis team and this will help the team get promoted on all local advertising outlets. Hopefully this will cause local media attention and bring fans from other cities to the games. In a situation like a professional team the goal is to let people no what is going on and that one advertising is a must all the time. Secondly the team music become like a public entity in that they represent the city and that they must become a part of it. That the people want to embrace this organization and it will become a love affair between the city and the team.