- Vince McMahon is set to make a “major sports announcement” on Thursday afternoon.
- All signs are pointing to the return of the XFL as a solo venture by WWE CEO and billionaire McMahon.
- The league is expected to start in 2020, and would attempt to draw support amidst declining NFL ratings.
Vince McMahon is expected to announce the return of the XFL at a press conference today at 3 p.m. ET.
The news comes after months of rumours and speculation that the hard-hitting multi-million dollar failure of a football league was gearing up for a comeback. WWE announced that McMahon would be holding a press conference on Thursday morning to make a “major sports announcement” regarding his new independent venture Alpha Entertainment.
— WWE (@WWE) January 25, 2018
Multiple outlets, including PWInsider and ESPN have independently confirmed that McMahon will be speaking about a renewed attempt to create his own football league to compete with the NFL. PWInsider reports that the league is expected to play its inaugural season in 2020.
Rumours of the return of the XFL have been swirling since December, when Brad Shepard reported that McMahon was considering a revival of the league and was aiming to make an announcement in late January. A WWE spokesperson later told Deadspin’s David Bixenspan that McMahon “has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscape, including professional football.”
Days later, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that McMahon had sold $US100 million worth of WWE stock, and that the filing noted that the sale was “primarily to fund a separate entity from the Company, Alpha Entertainment LLC.”
While the original iteration of the XFL lasted just one season and went down as a disastrous endeavour that ended up costing WWE $US70 million, it’s not hard to imagine why McMahon thinks the time might be right for a revival. NFL viewership is down, and thanks to a slew of injuries to star players, the on-the-field product is not as good as it has been in recent years.
Additionally, the prominence of player protests during the national anthem earlier in the season drew the ire of President Donald Trump and many fans, who might be compelled to support a league that advertises both harder hits and respecting the flag.
Unless McMahon makes a drastic swerve, we’ll know more about the details of the league by the end of the day.
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