When Vince McMahon sold a $100 million of WWE stock to fund Alpha Entertainment, rumors were buzzing that he was planning a return to the football market.
McMahon, who is the owner of the world’s premiere sports entertainment company, ventured into football after a boom period in wrestling. Around 2001, he’d just seen business soar to new heights, he’d buy his only major competition in Ted Turner’s WCW, and he launched the XFL.
The last of those feats was one of the most intriguing, as McMahon promised a grittier and more physical version of football, thus the ‘Xtreme’ in the league’s name. The venture had a lot of hype behind it, both because of the people behind it (McMahon and NBC executives), as well as the promise of an alternative to the NFL.
McMahon’s original venture fell short, largely because of his constant references to the NFL and arguably because he attempted to belittle the NFL at times. He was also criticized for trying to mix in wrestling personas and storylines with the coaches, announcers, and backstage staff.
The NFL has seen its ratings fall a bit, and although WWE has also seen a dip, the company reported their best financial quarter ever at the end of 2017, after a number of budget cuts. But these cost-cutting measures may have helped generate provide the framework for McMahon’s reentry into the world of professional football.
He made the official announcement that the XFL would return in 2020, giving a brief rundown about what the league would be about.
“The new XFL will kick off in 2020 and quite frankly, we’re going to give the game of football back to the fans. It’s football, but it’s football reimagined,” said McMahon.
He stated that the league would have eight teams, each with forty players. He said that this time around, that the league would not feature any WWE talent or crossovers with his main company. In addition, he announced that he would not function as the league’s front man this time around.
One of the XFL’s most historic blunders was a time when a game went into double-overtime, delaying the premiere of a highly anticipated episode of Saturday Night Live. McMahon spoke about the revamped XFL having faster-paced games, saying the goal was to keep them under two hours.
McMahon revealed the industry would not operate under the franchise model and would instead be a single entity. He also noted that a revamped approach to football also meant a revamped approach to distribution, stating the XFL would be distributed through a number of different formats of presentation.
He was also asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s reaction to the NFL protests, and the controversy surrounding the national anthem. Trump is a WWE Hall of Famer, who has opposed McMahon at WrestleMania in the past.
McMahon said: “As far as our league is concerned, it will have nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with social issues.”