XFL/CFL/International: What A Global Initiative “Should” Look Like

-John Turner

There’s something about International competition that’s special. Any time you can bring the world together through a sport, there’s a sense of pride that comes along with it that you don’t typically get from pro leagues that play under one particular Nation’s flag. In this article, we explore nearly every corner, plateau, hilltop, oceanside, riverfront, desert, and island I could find, that I believe could be a host, and be the template for what we could very well see 10-20 years from now. If you’ve ever read anything I write, you probably know it’s a lot of fan fiction with a little business common sense mixed in, and very, very long. So here’s your warning: This is for the purpose of entertainment and deep discussion, not necessarily to be taken with more than a grain of salt. I do hope however you enjoy tapping into the imagination, and hopefully you’re challenged to come up with a plan of your own. Below you will find an article I put together about a month ago, outlining the NFL’s actual rough plans to launch their international marketing and expansion plan. In that article, you will see that the mightiest league of them all hasn’t yet closed the door on expanding beyond its borders.

Back in February I wrote a piece on what I thought the XFL needed to do in order stay in business long term. In that one you’ll find everything from salaries, locations, coaches, mergers, and minority ownership details. This article came out about two weeks before it became public that the XFL and CFL were having discussions about merging, and or working together in some form. In this article I outlined some coaching and minority owner suggestions, as well as front office personnel. You can check that out below:

So now that you’re all caught up on the first two Sear’s catalog sized articles, here comes volume III!!! Not really, but kinda sorta, this will be a combination of what I’ve put out there before, but bigger, and hopefully better. If you love the game of football and you also love to travel, this plan would be a dream come true. One of my ultimate bucket list goals is to simply travel the world while consuming all the football and culture I possibly can. 10 years from now I’d like to see if places like China dominate using the Triple Option or the Air Raid. Do they like the Martyball, three yards and a cloud of dust offense in Germany? Does defense reign supreme in the Pacific? How does traveling abroad to play for two to four games straight impact how a team plays? Also wouldn’t it be great to see a league full of teams and coaching staff traveling the globe to play the greatest team activity ever handed to us by God, with an inside look into how they take in all this great culture, scenery, and game day experience? I think that’s a top five badass idea all time myself, but that’s just me.

photo credit: SalesLoft


First up: The idea that a second tier level of football outside of the NFL can’t be successful, needs to be laid to rest permanently. If a league outside of the NFL and NCAA can simply stay in business with a television deal for three full seasons, there’s no reason it wouldn’t hit the ground 100 miles and running. The fans need to be sold on the entity running the show, that they will stick to the plan. The fans need to be sold on the players, and that the teams will play at a high level. The markets need to be sold on a name, or two they can hang their hat on long term, so that they can establish and maintain an identity. The networks need to be sold on the product in order to be willing to make a substantial investment that occupies a lot of air time. For that, they need to be sold that the product they’re buying will be full of entertaining, must see TV, with endless on-demand streaming content. Last but not least, there’s been a lot of players and coaches that have been burned the last couple of years. You’ll need to close them on the fact that as long as the game of football exists, you’ll be in business paying competitive wages to play and coach it.

photo credit: Nerdist

If RedBird Capital is going to be the main entity for the financial part of the launch, then Dwayne Johnson and Danny Garcia need to be the closers of all the above mentioned. This is not a knock on the CFL which has in fact been in business for over 100 years, but unfortunately I don’t think their business acumen, brand, and or rules are anywhere near appealing enough to get something of this magnitude done. There may be personnel from the league retained on the levels of players, coaching, owners(at the minority level), and league to keep a little continuity, but I think you want the best you can afford at every position within the wheelhouse, in order to find success at the global level. I also feel they will have to convert to an XFL rules style of play since four down football is simply an easier sell. Maybe one or two subtle rules can also be brought on board, but if the game is “too” Canadian, I believe you’d lose more viewers before you ever have them. True Canadian Football League purists won’t like the idea at first, but if they want to continue to see their favorite teams compete, like The Mandalorian says, “This is the way”.

photo credit: tenor


Continuing with the theme of selling, let’s continue with some of the cardinal rules:

Attention: Does the league have the networks’, fans’, markets’, players’, and potential coaches’ attention? No, not at the moment. In order to get it, it’s going to take major marketing, marketing, and more marketing. Once they’ve put together one of the largest scale marketing plans the world has ever seen, they’ll need to launch it. As said marketing plan is being put out there they will graduate to the next level.

Interest: Are you interested? You’ve seen our commercials. You’ve seen the buzz on social media growing. You’ve heard some in the media coming out and talking about how exciting this thing sounds and how much potential it has. Chances are, you’re getting there. Because the league will Always Be Closing, while you’re becoming interested it’s a great time to hit you upside your head with more marketing. This is the biggest reason the NFL is as popular as it is. They continue to pound away at marketing all year long. Once they have become a part of daily discussions at the level of not only fans, but in the media, it’s time to level up.

Decision: Decide who you’re going to do business with. Sponsorships, minority ownerships, broadcasting partners, network launching, apparel providers, and more. Break out the big guns.

photo credit: Dicks

I’m talking about Disney, Under Armor, Body Armor, Schutt, Walmart, EA Sports or 2K, DraftKings, Funko, and as many high profile sponsorships you can get in bed with. Launch the first season with a video game, collectors’ items, and plenty of downloadable content trailing not far behind.

photo credit: TravelPulse

This league is going to be traveling a ton, so it’s a no brainer that there needs to be a big push to get a deal done with a major airline, and hotel chain that can be found in just about every market represented. There’s a few to choose from but keep in mind these two industries just experienced the worst financial year they’ve ever had due to the pandemic, so there’s no doubt there “should” be mutual interest.

photo credit: DiversityInc

It helps that RedBird Capital already owns “On Location Services”, which provides travel package arrangements for NFL games, especially those played internationally. This way they can not only launch marketing campaigns showcasing some of their biggest sponsors year round, but they can put together the most competitive travel packages and offer them in house. Buy a ticket/travel package to your home town team’s away game with a three nights stay, and get a head-to-toe team outfit, four hour group tour, and one meal at participating locations thrown in. That my friends is the kind of service fans remember.

photo credit: SI

Minority ownerships are a must to get more investors in the house, and spread the costs out. Not to mention it potentially brings more star power to each team throughout the league. Athletes, local business owners, Hollywood stars(music, tv, movies, etc), and anyone else looking for a big money opportunity can join the party. Think Dwayne Johnson knows any of those kinds of folk? The MLS is killing it right now doing this. The NBA, MLB and most Euro based soccer leagues are also dipping into cutting up their ownership pie to get more investors in the door and grow their popularity, leading to more revenue. The NFL doesn’t do this as much, but they don’t need to. They like to keep their money with the few they have, but these other leagues are starting to figure it out, and it’s paying off.

Action: If you can get their attention, and keep it long enough to get them interested, you can close them into a decision. At this point it’s time to take action. This is where the network you’ve launch needs to go live. The broadcasting partnerships need to start making some noise. The announcements of coaching and management hires start trickling in. The world tour meet and greets and fan engagement functions start lining up. Your season ticket sales firm starts thumbing the white pages. Create the demand. There are football fans out there screaming, “TAKE ALL MY MONEY”, and all the league has to do is give them the product. If you build it, they will come.

photo credit: The Globe and Mail


The last people that needs closing are likely the most important of them all… the players. In order to get some good ones you’re going to have to pay for them. In order to keep them, you’ll have to keep paying them, and likely pay them more. It’s a balance of, not overreaching, and paying competitively enough to be a desired destination. No time is better than now to attempt what I’m outlining. The talent is out there. The talent is plentiful. The desire to play professional ball is a life goal for thousands and thousands of players every year that slip under or through the NFL’s radar. There were thousands that slipped under and fell through the last few years, and will be thousands more next year, and the year after that. I love it when people say they don’t want to watch second rate football. These same people couldn’t cover the last receiver on the Towson Tigers depth chart, or get a sack on Taulia Tagovailoa’s third string left tackle. Yet they like to sit there and tell you, me, or anyone willing to listen, that they are above and beyond anything under elite level football. Guy couldn’t play left side, fourth string, nose bleed, bleacher, bench for a midget league, but he’s too good for tier two ball… gotcha. The good news is, that there’s millions of others out there that will watch, show up, and buy what the league is selling, if they they can be given something to believe in. That’s why it’s imperative that the league sign at least one solid player per team. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the quarterback, but one player that the coach, and fans can identify as the heart and soul of that team. Get that player to sign, and you’ll never have a problem finding more players looking to be the next icon of that city, and build a career with the league. The Pen Drop gets em every time…

photo credit: Panthers

The chart below is an estimated suggestion as to the type of salaries that would consistently get talent to want to be a part of a football league and stick around. Will it land Patrick Mahomes? No. It will land some 3 star, and perhaps some 4 star recruits that don’t want to be in school, and would like to be paid to play until they are NFL draft eligible. It may also attract players in the 4th-7th round NFL draft level to consider slightly more money. For some, being under the bottom of the bench is less valuable than being a full time star in a tier two league. Practice squad guy? Come on down, we’re paying more. Veteran squeezed from the roster seeking the vet minimum? Come on down, you’re the next contestant on, “this league is just right for you”!!! Deciding to jump into the transfer portal, because you can’t beat out the kid in front of you, who all but has a lock on his roster spot since he’s a 5 star recruit with an endorsement deal? Great!!! Come on down to the Global Initiative and be a part of something special. Although not every tier of salary can compete with those in the NFL you’ll see that there’s opportunity for nearly two dozen guys per team to make NFL type money, and make a name for themselves. For those lower tier salaries, it’s not exactly peanuts.

Tier LevelRoster Slots Avail.SalaryYearsTotal
Franchise Player11.28M-1.92M41.6M
Tier 113640K-960M310.4M
Tier 213320K-480K35.2M
Tier 313160K-240K22.6M
Tier 41380K-120K11.3M
Total- 21,100,000

Now that we’ve got some players to play, let’s talk about what we pay the coaches. As I said earlier, players and coaches have been burned recently so they would also have to be compensated fairly well. Again, you won’t get Bill Belichick, but there are coaches available every year looking for work, just like players. Coaches that know how to teach, how to prepare, how to lead, and how to build from the ground up. There’s also an endless supply of ex players who understand the game well enough to be great assistants at this level, and I’m certain the opportunity to travel around the world is a selling point.

Head Coach/GM500K-1M
Offensive Coordinator250KDefensive Coordinator250K
Quarterbacks Coach125KInterior Line Coach125K
Running Backs Coach125KEdge Defender Coach125K
Receivers Coach125KLinebackers Coach125K
Tight Ends Coach125KCornerbacks Coach125K
Offensive Line Coach125KSafeties Coach125K
Offensive Assistant Coach75KDefensive Assistant Coach75K
Special Teams Coordinator125KSpecial Teams Assistant Coach75K
Strength & Conditioning125KQuality Control75K
Total- 3,200,000

Ok so we got players, and coaches, and sponsors, oh my. We’ve got minority owners, and sound management, and season ticket holders, oh my!!! How’s it all going to work? Well, the first thing you want to do is stay out of scheduling anything when the NFL or major college programs have things going on. Don’t try to play when they play nor schedule games during the NFL Draft or things like that. That’s just asking for trouble. However, much like the NFL, I believe this league needs to be, for the most part, a year round league with the bulk of the offseason happening when the NFL and NCAA is playing. The XFL was smart in 2019 to hold their draft just after the final NFL cuts took place. It would also be smart to have another draft right when the NCAA and NFL seasons end. That way, twice during the year, players have the opportunity to be drafted, and both levels aren’t all being thrown in to one pool.

photo credit: XFL

As far as scheduling games is concerned, late February sounds about right to kick off the regular season. For those about to say that the whether during that time of year isn’t suited for their region, that’s ok. Those teams can play a few away games to start the year. I feel that if a championship game was played on Labor Day, the league would have plenty of time for an 18 game regular season with a couple bye weeks for each team. An all star week with a skills competition that could feature some form of Pros vs Joes events in various markets around Memorial Day week. An FCS sized and style playoff series could start the first week of August. Last but not least, a championship game on Labor Day weekend with the trophy being a modified Grey Cup(World Cup). Lots of travel time and short rest at times, but that’s football.

photo credit: Riot Fest

Since I like to accessorize in everything I do, let’s take a look at the new batch of teams ready to get this show on the road. Warning: If you love college football you will love this list of teams. It brings variety. It stretches all six continents that are actually livable. It gives the league a World Cup feel to it. Enjoy!

We start with the Western Conference:

photo credit: CFL
Boston MaraudersGillette Stadium20K +4.6M
New York GuardiansRed Bull Arena25K18.3M
Montreal AllouettesSaputo Stadium19K4.1M
New Jersey GeneralsRed Bull Arena25K18.3M
photo credit: XFL
Philadelphia StarsSubaru Park18K6.1M
Hartford ColonialsPratt Whitney Stadium38K1.2M
DC DefendersAudi Field30K5.4M
Baltimore StallionsM & T Bank Stadium40K +2.8M
photo credit: ClipartMax

Oh yeah, I went there. All four major branches of the United States Military have joined in on the sweet action. Not the Academies though. This is for those that are active duty career guys that would like to earn extra cash while serving their country. I cannot tell you enough how cool it would be to see the Triple Option at the pro level racking up 340 yards a game on 53 carries, and mopping the floor with the opposition week in and week out in the process. Population is represented by the number of active members of each branch. Yes, in case you’re wondering, I am fully aware that the Marines are an extension of the Navy, but after they graduate from the academy, on a personal level they are Soldiers of the United States Marine Corps. Trust me, I’ve logged many hours in Quantico… The Marines and The Navy are not the same.

The Branches
(West Point) ArmyMichie Stadium38K1.1M
(Annapolis) NavyNavy-Marine Corps Stadium34K500K
(Colorado Springs) Air ForceFalcon Stadium47K500K
(Quantico) MarinesNavy-Marine Corps Stadium34K300K
photo credit: SportsLogos
Virginia DestroyersVirginia Beach Sportsplex17K1.7M
Birmingham IronProtective Stadium47K1.2M
Atlanta LegendsCenter Park Stadium24K6M
Tennessee ShowboatsNashville Fairgrounds Stadium30K2M
photo credit: AthlonSports
Tampa Bay VipersRaymond James Stadium65K3.1M
Orlando ApollosExploria Stadium25K +2.5M
Jacksonville BullsTIAA Bank Field67K1.6M
Miami SharksInter Miami CF Stadium18K6.2M
photo credit: CBC
Winnipeg Blue BombersIG Field30K800K
Ottawa RedblacksTD Place24K1.3M
Toronto ArgonautsBMO Field30K6M
Hamilton Tiger-CatsTim Horton’s Field23K800K
photo credit: Pinterest
Pittsburg MaulersHeinz Field68K +1.7M
Michigan PanthersFord Field65K +3.6M
Cleveland GladiatorsFirst Energy Stadium67K1.8M
Chicago BlitzSoldier Field25K +8.9M
That’s right!!! Arlington Lane and Dirty Jason Spurgeon of the XFLSTL Talk Show repping the Battlehawks!!!
Oklahoma OutlawsGaylord Memorial Stadium80K1M
St. Louis BattlehawksThe Dome at America’s Center40K +2.2M
Nebraska NighthawksLincoln Memorial Stadium85K1.1M
New Orleans VooDooMecedes-Benz Superdome70K1M
photo credit: San Antonio Express
Dallas RenegadesToyota Stadium20K6.3M
San Antonio CommandersAlamodome20K +2.3M
Houston RoughnecksTDECU Stadium40K7.1M
Texas(Austin) RevolutionQ2 Stadium20K2.1M
photo credit: CFL
The 49th
Calgary StampedersMcMahon Stadium35K1.6M
Saskatchewan RoughridersMosaic Stadium33K300K
Boise ExpressAlbertsons Stadium36K500K
Edmonton Football TeamCommonwealth Stadium55K1.5M
photo credit: Salt Lake Tribune
Arizona HotshotsSun Devil Stadium30K +4.5M
Las Vegas PosseSam Boyd Stadium36K +2.7M
Salt Lake StallionsRio Tinto Stadium20K1.2M
Denver GoldDick’s Sporting Goods Park18K2.8M
photo credit: The State hornet
Seattle DragonsLumen Field37K +3.4M
BC LionsBC Place22K +2.6M
Portland PowerProvidence Park25K2.2M
Sacramento Mountain LionsRailyards Stadium20K2.1M
photo credit: Sports Logos
LA WildcatsBank of California Stadium22K12.5M
San Francisco DemonsLevi Stadium68K3.3M
San Diego ThunderboltsSan Diego Stadium54K1.5M
Oakland InvadersOakland Coliseum47K400K
photo credit: ArchDaily
Guadalajara CascadersEstadio Akron48K5.3M
Mexico City ReepersEstadio Azteca100K21.8M
Monterrey MatadorsEstadio BBVA53K4.9M
Tijuana BaditosEstadio Caliente27K2.1M
South America
São Paulo PrideCícero Pompeu de Toledo66K12M
Rio de Janeiro King MomosEstádio do Maracanã78K6.8M
Medellin Black EaglesAtanasio Girardot Stadium45K4M
Mendoza CondorsEstadio Malvinas Argentinas42K1.2M
photo credit: Reddit
Kingston ShottasIndependence Park35K600K
Armada DominicanoFélix Sánchez Olympic Stadium27K3.3M
San Juan Gallo de PeleaJuan Ramón Loubriel Stadium13K2.5M
Havana PowerEstadio Pedro Marrero30K2.2M

Eastern Conference:

photo credit: LiverpoolFC
London KnightsWembley Stadium90K9.3M
Manchester WildcatsOld Trafford76K2.7M
Liverpool ScousersAn Field54K900K
Birmingham UnionSt Andrew’s Stadium30K2.6M
photo credit: Populous
United Kingdom
Glasgow CelticCeltic Park60K1.7M
Dublin SaintsAviva Stadium51K1.2M
Edinburgh HighlandersMurrayfield Stadium68K600K
Belfast StrongholdsCasement Park32K600K
photo credit: Top 25 Most Expensive Stadiums In Europe
Stockholm VikingsTele2 Arena33K1.6M
Oslo TigersIntility Arena17K1.7M
Copenhagen SpiresParken Stadium38K1.4M
Hamburg BadgersVolksparkstadion57K1.8M
photo credit: Reddit
Munich DactylsAllianz Arena74K1.6M
Krakow BisonStadion Miejski Wisły45K800K
Wroclaw PanthersStadion Miejski Wisły45K700K
Warsaw ValorStadion Norway58K1.8M
photo credit: wiki
Helsinki PearlHelsinki Olympic Stadium36K1.3M
Tallinn GemA. Le Coq Arena15K500K
Moscow SoroksVEB Arena30K12.5M
St Petersburg RevolutionKrestovsky Stadium68K600K
photo credit: Stadt Zurich
Paris GuillotineStade Jean-Bouine20K11M
Bordeaux ConquestNouveau Stade de Bordeaux42K1M
Zurich GnomesLetzigrund31K1.4M
Lyon KingsParc Olympique Lyonnais59K1.7M
photo credit: PhotoWall
Antwerp RazorbacksBosil Stadion15K1.1M
Amsterdam ResistanceJohan Cruijff Arena54K2.5M
Cologne CarnivalRhein Energy Stadion50K1.1M
Berlin BitzkriegOlympiastadion69K3.6M
photo credit: The Stadium Business
The Alps
Rome GladiatorsStadio Olimpico72K4.3M
Vienna StagsGenerali Stadium17K2M
Milan BiscioneSan Siro75K3.2M
Salzburg LegendsRedbull Arena31K200K
photo credit: Stadia Magazine
The Peninsula
Toulouse StarsStadium de Toulouse33K1.1M
Barcelona Man-of-WarsCamp Nuo99K5.6M
Madrid ImperioWanda Politano67K6.6M
Lisbon RaidersEstádio da Luz65K3M
photo credit: Sportsmatik
Tel Aviv SandstormBloomfield Stadium15K4.2M
Jerusalem LegionTeddi Malha Stadium34K1M
Belgrade White FenixRed Star Stadium52K1.4M
Athens SpartansOlympic Stadium70K3.2M
photo credit: wiki
Cape Town RhynosCape town Stadium55K4.6M
Johannesburg El DoradoEllis Park Stadium62K5.8M
Lagos LionsTaslim Balogun Stadium24K14.4M
Accra BlazersAccra Sports Stadium40K2.6M
photo credit: CGTN
Pacific East
Samoa WarriorsVeterans Memorial Stadium10K300K
Honolulu KahunasAloha Stadium50K1M
Kobe SasukeUniversiade Memorial Stadium45K2.5M
Yokohama Golden BoysYokohoma International Stadium72K3.6M
photo credit: Pinterest
Shanghai Pearl SkyShanghai Stadium60K26.4M
Beijing DynastyBeijing National Stadium80K21M
Tianjin ForceOlympic Center Stadium54K12.5M
Shenzhen PowerUniversiade Stadium60K23.3M
photo credit: OPS Structures
Pacific West
Tokyo SamuraiToyota Stadium45K37.8M
Osaka DragonsNagai Stadium50K19.3M
Daegu IslandersDaegu Stadium68K2.2M
Seoul Amur LeopardsOlympic Stadium70K25.7M
photo credit: Buro Happold
Auckland LordsEden Park50K1.7M
Dunedine Silver SavageForsyth Barr Stadium30K200K
Manila SeadevilsPhilippine Arena55K12.9M
Quezon City StarsPhilippine Arena55K3M
photo credit: Pal
Down Under
Melbourne DevilsEtihad Stadium56K5M
Sydney CrocsANZ Stadium83K5.4M
Brisbane RaysSuncorp Stadium52K2.6M
Perth PredatorsOptus Stadium60K2.1M

Like whoa… Take a few numbers into consideration: there are 2,129 3 stars recruits coming into the NCAA this fall. 326 4 stars, and 34 5 stars. Alabama, Ohio State, Texas, USC, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Oregon, and Michigan along with a small handful of other teams, pretty much obliterate the 4 and 5 stars available. Everyone else is scrambling for the 3s, 2s, and 1s. If you think you can’t find elite talent at that level, here’s a few names that were 2 stars: Khalil Mack, David Johnson, Shaquil Barrett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Aqib Talib, Hunter Renfrow, Tarik Cohen, Carson Wentz, T.Y. Hilton, Cooper Kupp, J.J. Watt, Josh Allen, Jason Kelce, Clay Matthews, and Bobby Wagner. As you can see, there’s talent out there and available in the event there was a league out there that would be willing to pay them to play. Not convinced? Here’s a few more names: Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, Russell Wilson, Santana Moss, Wes Welker, Brent Grimes, and Dontari Poe. If you have solid talent evaluators and some closers on the payroll, you’ll be able to stack rosters top to bottom, year in and year out.

photo credit: GIF

Ok Dwayne Johnson, now you know what you need to do… It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing through.