— Sports

Super League among sporting ventures that went wrong

The aborted plan to create a breakaway Super League with 12 of the biggest clubs in European soccer was perhaps the most egregious example of a sporting venture that quickly fell flat on its face.

Here’s a look at some others:


It just wasn’t cricket. American financier Allen Stanford brought razzmatazz to the quaint sport by signing a deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2008 for a series of Twenty20 matches against a Caribbean team labeled the “Stanford All-Stars.” The winner would earn $20 million, the loser nothing. In a publicity stunt to promote the matches, he flew into Lord’s – the home of English cricket – aboard a private gold-plated helicopter. He posed with a case supposedly containing $20 million. During a warm-up match for the series, Stanford was pictured sitting among the wives and girlfriends of England’s players, with one perched on his knee. The whole episode proved an embarrassment for English cricket, especially since a five-year deal lasted one series. In 2009, Stanford was charged with fraud for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $7.2 billion. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison in 2012.

Super League


In 2008, English soccer got into a frenzy because of a proposal to take the Premier League on tour. The league’s 20 clubs agreed to explore an idea to add an extra game to each team’s schedule and be played outside of England. As it was promoted, the “39th game” would be played in five different venues, with cities bidding for the right to stage them. Is Manchester United in Melbourne? Liverpool in Los Angeles? No, said English soccer’s traditionalists, with the proposal met by massive opposition from supporters, the leaders of FIFA and UEFA, and the national soccer associations around the world who were concerned at the impact of having official games played in their country. After a few months, the idea was shelved.


In 2001, a new American football league went for style over substance to appeal to young male viewers. World Wrestling Federation mogul Vince McMahon thought he knew how to do that. He partnered with NBC to create the XFL, an eight-team spring league that debuted just days after the NFL’s Super Bowl. Players wore nicknames like “He Hate Me” on their jerseys. A sitting U.S. governor – Minnesota’s Jesse Ventura, a former professional wrestler, was bombastic television commentary. Despite a good opening night, TV ratings plummeted over the season. McMahon and NBC pulled the plug after only one campaign, with losses in the tens of millions. The XFL was revived in 2020 but suspended operations halfway through the season. It may be back again at some point – actor and former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson acquired the XFL last year.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button