When Vince McMahon tried to launch a football league to take on the NFL in 2001, he chose NBC as his broadcast (and business) partner. But when the league begins its second life next year, games will air on the Peacock Network’s rivals.
ABC and Fox will broadcast XFL games starting Feb. 8, 2020. ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2 will air games, as well. Games will air back to back, with two on Saturday and two on Sunday.
“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,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”
Fox, of course, is already partnering with McMahon via the WWE. This fall, that company’s Smackdown will move from USA Network to Fox, part of a five-year deal that was rumored to be in the $1 billion range.
Additional XFL programming and the on-air talent associated with it will be named at a later date.
The XFL has established teams in most of the country’s major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Houston and Washington D.C.
McMahon sold $100 million in WWE stock to help fund the venture, which will launch as the NFL loses viewers as fans grow weary of seemingly endless scandals, including players taking a knee during the National Anthem and several sexual misconduct allegations (one of which led to the Carolina Panthers going up for sale).
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