The XFL, which has been resurrected by WWE chief Vince McMahon as a bid to satisfy year-round viewer appetite for football, has announced multi-year deals with ESPN and FOX Sports to televise games in its inaugural 2020 season.
The XFL will kick off on February 8 with teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C. The league said more programming and on-air talent announcements are planned at a later date.
In its first incarnation, which lasted just one season in 2001, the XFL proved a disastrous partnership between NBC and the WWE. Its revival, announced in 2017, followed a popular installment of ESPN’s 30-for-30 memorializing the first go-round. McMahon and commissioner Oliver Luck have promised a league that is not only entertaining for viewers but also safer than the NFL, whose high-profile issues with concussions and brain trauma have helped suppress youth football participation.
“We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league’s inaugural season,” ESPN EVP of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus said. “Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry’s most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league. We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”
“We welcome the XFL to the FOX Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports CEO & Executive Producer. “Football is in FOX Sports’ DNA and a key component of our programming strategy. Alongside Oliver Luck and his incredible team, we’re excited for the debut of the XFL on FOX Sports.”
“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and FOX Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” McMahon said. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”
The agreements were negotiated by CAA Sports and Evolution Media Capital on behalf of the XFL.