XFL's targeted audience found better things to do

-- The Times-Picayune, New Orleans - May 14

Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2001

They may be part of a demographic that advertisers salivate over. But statisticians see them as potential rioters and vandals. Insurance actuaries view them as speed demons. Hollywood targets them for movies like ''Dude, Where's My Car?''

But 18- to 34-year-old men have gotten their revenge -- at least on NBC and the World Wrestling Federation, the founders of the XFL. The quick demise of the upstart football league proves that the young men of America are far more discerning than society gives them credit for being. ...

In retrospect, it's hard to imagine that anyone would have thought that a made-for-TV cross between football and pro wrestling would be a viable business plan. But NBC and the WWF clearly thought that young men would be taken in.

True, they're a reliable audience for football and pro wrestling alone. But other than the age group and the sex of the people who watch them most avidly, the two sports have little in common. ...

It's rare that entertainment companies so nakedly reveal their contempt for their intended audience. Fortunately, young men saw right through the bluster and the flashy colors -- and found better things to do.

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