After heavy controversy hit the XFL during its debut season, the football league was taken off the air. Last week however, founder Steve McMahon announced that the league would be returning in 2020.
McMahon, who is well known for creating the WWE, told CBS Sports, “The new XFL is an exciting opportunity to re-imagine America’s favorite sport (football). As we move towards kickoff, we look forward to listening and implementing innovative ideas from players, coaches, medical experts, technology executives, the media, and most importantly football fans.”
Instead of funding the new league via WWE, McMahon has decided to form a new company, Alpha Entertainment, to create the league. The company was jump started by the sale of 3.34 million shares of WWE (worth $100 million). Alpha has also gotten five trademarks for the XFL previously owned by WWE.
Alpha Entertainment released a mission statement, saying, “This is the future. This is not the past. This is the future. And the future moves fast. This is quicker, simpler. Rules, reformed. This is your game safer. This is football reborn. This is gaming and fantasy, this is padded roulette. Make a trade, make a team, make a move, make a bet. This is fans above all. This is maximum action. Less stall more ball. Fewer infractions. This begins in 2020. The future is near. More access. More everyone. More everything here. This is our moment, our story to tell. This is history begun. This is the XFL.”
The league will have eight teams, all owned by the XFL. The teams will play in undisclosed cities and McMahon does not want to run the league as its commissioner. The season will consist of ten games, beginning in early February, followed up by a two game semifinal and championship. Team rosters will hold around forty players.
McMahon spoke on the tempo of the game, saying, “Sitting and watching a three, three-and-a-half hour game is laborious sometimes.” Expect the games to be short, fast paced ones.
McMahon also stated that he wanted fan input to be the biggest factor on how the league will be run.
The XFL died after one season when NBC sports removed their cooperation with WWE. Due to the fact that teams had little practice beforehand, the actual football play got off to a rough start. However, as the season progressed, the play did improve and the ratings grew. Failures, as stated by CBS Sports, came with “technical difficulties, miscast announcers, changing the rules during the season, and McMahon’s decision to go to the extreme by bringing adult themes into the game — such as overtly sexualizing the cheerleaders.”
McMahon however stated that he is not going to bring back this sort of league and is instead focusing on a “college football” vibe paired with many unique features to still make it different and interesting to viewers.