A11 Football League Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner Scott McKibben knows a thing or two about successful sports enterprises.
McKibben has overseen both the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses, as well as Forward Market Media, an online ticketing and sports media marketing solution. He also was the Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for the Los Angeles Times Media Group.
McKibben is excited about the potential of the A11FL, and doesn’t mince words about his involvement in it and his goals for it.
What attracted you to the A11 Football League?
“First of all, it's football. Football is absolutely the single-most popular sport with fans in America. And putting football together in the spring, at the highest competitive level, was an opportunity to not only fill a void in America for high-level football in the spring, but also to offer another opportunity for literally hundreds of players in a league where they can continue to develop and refine their skills. There is just enough uniqueness to give it some traction.”
How exciting is it for you to be involved with a professional football league that will have both modern and early-day elements?
“This is one of the great sports stories -- two young guys (Kurt Bryan and Steve Humphries) who put together this offensive scheme and built it around the game of football. The opportunity to go in and create something that's recognizable, but just different enough is what makes this exciting to me.”
As the A11FL's CEO/Commissioner, what do you see as your main roles in the next 20 months before opening kickoff?
“When you’re doing a league launch, there are an awful lot of moving parts. One of the great responsibilities of the commissioner is to make sure all these moving parts are in concert with each other. My role in all of that is to make sure that we’ve got all of our markets tied down, all of our venues leased and done, and a good television contract with a successful digital strategy is in place. Combine that with the economic and fiscal discipline that ensures our long-term success while also building a long term brand and that will give you some idea of what I'm focused on.
How good do you think the on-field brand of football will be, using Bill Walsh’s thought that the last few players cut on the final roster cutdown are as good as the last few players kept?
“I think our on-field brand of football is going to be exceptional. When you see how many undrafted players and unsigned veterans there are, I have no doubt we are going to have premier players playing in our league. We understand that, perhaps, the best football players are going to play in the NFL. We don’t want to be called or referred to as a developmental league. We are a spring professional football league that will play at the highest level. We are not a minor league to the National Football League. We do believe we serve a purpose. This is not a junior-college league. We view the NFL as our friends. There is plenty of room in this for all of us. We can play with and off each other, to each other’s benefit.”
How important are the fans to the success of the A11FL?
“The fans are everything. In a league, there are three constituencies – fans, players and coaches. The rest of us are just window dressing. We continually live by the mantra built for the fans, by the fans. And we are focused on that on a daily basis."
What are your expectations for the A11FL in 2015?
“At the end of the day, we have to produce, we have to perform. We have to put a good product on the field. We're putting together all of the pieces to make that happen. I think we’re going to have a very successful launch and kickoff and a great first year."