Professional Sports Leagues That Failed

Over 60 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Professional Sports Leagues That Failed
Voting Rules
Vote for the biggest professional sports league failures since 2000

For every multi-billion-dollar league that has succeeded, that are 10 professional sports leagues that failed. History is littered with attempts to start a new pro sports league to rival the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB. Whether because of timing, money or talent, the failed pro leagues listed here just couldn't stick around.

To keep this manageable and to discuss only leagues that people might remember, we're looking only at the American professional sports leagues that started and ended in the 21st century. There was a time in 2001 when the XFL was supposed to be the next big thing. And at one time, all these failed leagues thought they would be, too.

Vote for the biggest failures, and feel free to add any defunct professional sports leagues not listed here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ranked by
  • XFL
    35 votes

    Established: 2001
    Ended: 2001

    The XFL was a professional American football league that played its only season in 2001. The XFL was operated as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) and NBC. 

  • United Football League

    United Football League

    31 votes

    Established: 2009
    Ended: 2012

    The United Football League (UFL) was a professional American football league based in the United States that began play in October 2009 and played four seasons, the most recent being cut short in October 2012.

  • Alliance of American Football

    Alliance of American Football

    38 votes

    Established: 2019
    Ended: Ceased operations midseason in 2019

    The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a professional American football league, founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian.

  • Pro Cricket

    Pro Cricket

    21 votes

    Established: 2004
    Ended: 2004

    Pro Cricket was a professional cricket league in the United States. It was operated by American Pro Cricket LLC (APC), a private company independent of the ICC and the USACA. 

  • PRO Rugby

    PRO Rugby

    18 votes

    Established: 2016
    Ended: 2017

    The Professional Rugby Organization, known as PRO Rugby, was an American professional rugby union competition. PRO began play in April 2016 with five teams and ceased operations by January 2017.

  • Championship Gaming Series

    Championship Gaming Series

    21 votes

    Established: 2007
    Ended: 2008

    The Championship Gaming Series was an international esports league based in the United States, with teams from several other countries.