WWF drops XFL
May 10, 2001: 6:47 p.m. ET

New football league is terminated after one year, due to disastrous ratings
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - World Wrestling Federation Entertainment and NBC are discontinuing their professional football league, the XFL, after only a year of operation.

"The numbers actually didn't play out for us," said Vince McMahon, WWF chairman, in a conference call Thursday. "Despite where our heart was ... we just couldn't make it work from a financial standpoint."

The WWF's share of after-tax losses will be about $35 million and NBC's loss should be similar, the Associated Press reported.

McMahon said the decision came Thursday afternoon after a deal could not be reached with television network UPN to carry future games. He said even with UPN televising the games the XFL still may have folded, but having a network was critical to its survival.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, the joint-venture partner in the league with WWFE (WWF: Research, Estimates), said the companies knew as early as March the XFL wouldn't work in prime time, but commitments to golf, the National Basketball Association and the upcoming Winter Olympics made it impossible to find daytime slots.

The XFL struggled with its Saturday night ratings all season, one week receiving a national rating of 1.6, making it the lowest-rated program on a major network in prime-time history.

Ebersol said the league probably would have benefited from more time.

"I think in retrospect if we'd had more time we'd probably, from an offensive standpoint, have had a more successful product," he said.

Shares of WWFE fell 10 cents to $13.15 Thursday, while NBC parent General Electric (GE: Research, Estimates) rose 40 cents to $49.83. graphic