Vince McMahon, the Chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, held a press conference on Thursday where he announced the XFL (Xtreme Football League) would return after 17 years with a new season set to begin in 2020. McMahon made the announcement using the new company he started on his own, Alpha Entertainment.
The announcement was expected for over a month after news broke in mid-December and McMahon also took out over $100 million of WWE stock with the intent to spend it on this league.
The press conference started at 3pmET with a run time of 24 minutes. Here’s my recap of it.
The press conference started with a video that was about XFL being football reborn.
Vince McMahon said that the new XFL will kick off in 2020 and he said that we will bring back football back to the fans. Vince said that they will listen to anybody that loves the game of football. Vince pointed out that they will listen to the fans. The hashtag #XFL2020 appeared in the upper left corner of the screen.
Vince said that the new XFL will be fan-centric with the things you want to see. Vince talked about a shorter, faster paced game that is professional football re-imagined.
Vince talked about how they plan to start with 8 teams playing 10 games, 40 players per team, 2 semifinals and a championship game.
Vince spoke about how the quality of the human being will be as important as the quality of the player.
Vince talked about how you can watch the XFL on the big screen, mobile devices and it will be a re-imagined game of football.
Vince spoke for about four minutes. After his opening comments, he took questions from the media.
Vince pointed out that in the previous of XFL, they had a short time to put it together and now they have two years to put it together.
Vince talked about doing the standard way of broadcasting the XFL and then suggested there might be some new ways to present it. When asked if he has had initial talks, Vince said nothing really.
Vince claimed that the XFL won’t affect his role as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Vince spoke about how there will be no crossover from the WWE to the XFL.
When asked about his role in the new XFL, Vince said he won’t be out front and other people will be part of it.
Vince said he has always wanted to relaunch the XFL and felt like this was the right time for it.
Vince was asked about when the league would start, he said end of January or early February and play through from there.
When asked about ownership model, Vince said it will be single entity and they won’t have franchises. That means that the league will own the teams.
Vince was asked about concussions being a big issue in the NFL. Vince said they will make the environment as safe as possible, but he didn’t have anything specific although they are going to listen to medical experts to make it as safe as possible.
Vince was asked if President Trump will support this. Vince said he had no idea if President Trump will support this and Vince said it will have nothing to do with politics.
Vince said he’s not worried about oversaturation because he pointed out there’s seven months without football, so he thinks they will make their own demand.
Vince was asked about a few different cities, so he just said that every city is on the radar while noting that cities that have football stadiums obviously have an advantage.
Vince threw out the possibility that there may not be a halftime to make it a faster game. Vince said that sitting through a 3 or 3.5 hour game is too long. He said they want to try to make the games two hours.
Vince talked about the ESPN 30 for 30 didn’t have an impact on the decision to relaunch the XFL because they wanted to bring it back. Vince thinks the XFL is a cool name.
Regarding social media proponents, Vince thinks that all options are available to them in terms of how they are going to broadcast the games.
Vince was asked if he would allow nicknames on the jerseys like “He Hate Me” and Vince laughed. Vince isn’t sure about the nicknames thing, but it’s amazing that people remember that. Vince was also asked about the national anthem, he said it’s a time-honored tradition to stand for the national anthem and it’s appropriate to stand for it.
Vince was asked about commentators. He talked about all the options on the table for that with national and local announcers.
Vince was asked about players like Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick. Vince said they wanted people of good character and even if you had a DUI you would not be allowed. Vince said if Tebow wants to play, he could play.
Vince was asked about what drives him as a competitor and Vince said he would hire professionals who really know what they are doing. Vince said he’s not going to be out front for this. The same guy asked if Vince asked his wife Linda about this and he said no.
Vince thanked everybody for the questions and the video ended after 24 minutes.
TJR Thoughts: There’s a lot of information to process. The key things are that the XFL is a separate entity from WWE with Vince saying there won’t be a crossover between them. The other major point is that the XFL is starting in 2020 and Vince said late January/early February, so that means it will be around two years from now. They have plenty of time to plan this by finding the right cities, TV partners and of course the players too.
The comment Vince made about NFL games going too long at 3 hours is interesting considering most people would say Monday Night Raw being 3 hours is too long. That comment is generating a lot of chatter on social media. I don’t know if Vince even wants Raw to be three hours, but USA Network pays them for it, so it made sense for WWE to accept the deal when it was offered to them.
Former college football star Johnny Manziel, who had a short NFL run with the Cleveland Browns (poor guy), has already expressed interest in the XFL.
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 25, 2018
Some WWE talent even tweeted about wanting to be a part of the league.
I would like to be a participant in VKM LONG SHOT #XFL2020
— Miro (@ToBeMiro) January 25, 2018
Can the league succeed this time? Maybe. The broadcast deals of all sports leagues are going up and WWE’s next deal will go up too. Companies want to pay for live sporting events. TV options plus Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, etc. showing interest broadcasting sports means there are more options for the XFL to get a nice deal.
I love the NFL (go Rams) and watch American College Football regularly. I don’t have as much interest in the XFL. I live near several CFL teams as a Canadian and I don’t watch it. The quality of play isn’t the same, but like Vince said a lot of people love football, so there’s a possibility this league could work.
I don’t plan to cover the XFL that much even though I’m a big football fan. This is a wrestling site and we’ll continue to focus on that, but Vince McMahon as WWE’s Chairman is obviously an interesting person to write about, so that’s why I covered it.