NEW YORK — As the nascent XFL brandished its new team names and uniforms in Times Square Thursday, Las Vegas oddsmakers said they will give the newly created football league the benefit of the doubt and issue betting lines.
Skeptics have wondered about the credibility factor given that the eight teams are owned and operated by the World Wrestling Federation. But XFL organizers, led by prexy Basil V. DeVito Jr., maintain that the football league is a real one and the games can be trusted.
Vegas still has some doubts, though. “I am a little concerned — as in, is it real? I’d like to see it before I believe in it,” said Jason Been, an oddsmaker with Las Vegas Sports Consultants. “Anything done by a wrestling company, you’d be a little leery about from the beginning.”
Been will be one of a team of oddsmakers to create betting lines for the XFL in casinos throughout Las Vegas. But, he said, betting lines will not be offered in the first few weeks of the season, which starts Feb. 3.
“We will definitely put them out,” he said. “We may just wait a week, so we can get an accurate gauge of some of the teams.”
Been said most of the Vegas casinos will use his company’s lines, but they will likely set low betting ceilings of, say, $300-$500 on the initial games.
According to one casino sports book exec at the Mirage Hotel, the Las Vegas Outlaws will not be allowed to sport a betting line.
“It’s against the law to book Nevada teams,” the exec said.
Meanwhile, the XFL unveiled uniforms, helmets, colors and names for its eight new “smashmouth” football teams. Monikers range from the aggressively charged New York/New Jersey Hit Men to the simply deviant Memphis Maniax. Other teams are the Orlando Rage, San Jose Demons, Los Angeles Xtreme, Las Vegas Outlaws, Chicago Enforcers and Birmingham Thunderbolts.
DeVito said the process of picking the names took nine months while 3,500 hours of design went into developing logos and team uniform decals. The clothing and sportswear will be available in retail stores by Christmas.
Though Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation Entertainment is a co-owner of the league, along with NBC, and the press conference was announced in the WWF restaurant/store in Times Square in Manhattan, there was no sign of WWF topper McMahon.
The league will receive three hours of primetime on Saturday night on NBC, as well as three hours on UPN and TNN during the weekend.
Those spots will cover three of the four games played each week. The last will be included as additional coverage on Sunday night.
Though a TV deal is in place, the players are receiving relatively low salaries, with a base rate of $45,000 for a 10-game season. Quarterbacks will make $50,000-$55,000; kickers will receive $30,000.
Players will also get compensation from a weekly game pool of $100,000 that will be split among the 38 active players on the winning team of each contest.
The WWFE will handle all advertising revenue and split profits 50-50 with NBC.