Is this the right time for Vince McMahon’s new XFL?


The new XFL is now official, and it will be interesting to see what cities host teams and who WWE CEO and Chairman Vince McMahon hires to run his second attempt at XFL style football.

So much has changed since 2001 for World Wrestling Entertainment and the world.

Whether it’s hybrid cars, clothes style, gluten free food, music types or sports, changes exist in 17 years.

Who knows? What once failed in 2001 may work in 2018…or 2020.

Vince McMahon hopes so.

That’s when the new XFL will kick off, under the Alpha Entertainment banner, a new company founded by WWE CEO and Chairman Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

And that means He Hate Me is relevant again.

The XFL, a failing attempt at pro football in 2001, was headed by McMahon and NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol. The league, promising to be different from the NFL, did not resonate that change with fans, and after one good week of television ratings, the viewership declined drastically from week-to-week. What was supposed to be a two-year TV programming venture with NBC ended after one year.

ESPN featured the XFL in one of its 30-for-30 specials in February.

Vince McMahon 2001: “Where’s the kind of football, the NFL used to be? Where’s my smash mouth, wide open football? It’s gone.”

Vince McMahon 2001: “Some suggest that the NFL stands for the No Fun League. The XFL is going to be the Extra Fun League.”

Vince McMahon 2001: “We will take you places where the NFL is afraid to take you. Quite frankly, we’re not afraid of anything.”

At the end of the documentary, McMahon and Ebersol teased resurrecting the league.

In January, WWE filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for McMahon to sell about $100 million in stock to fund Alpha Entertainment, a company founded to make investments including professional football. Alpha, which is based at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Conn., filed trademarks for the XFL name.

The new XFL

During a conference call on Thursday, Jan. 25, Vince McMahon announced the new XFL will begin in 2020 (possibly late January 2020).

Vince McMahon today: “We have two years now to really get it right.”

The first time around organizers had one year to launch the league in 2001.

Vince McMahon today: “Quite frankly, we’re going to give the game of football back to fans.”

McMahon noted the new XFL will feature a shorter, faster-paced game.

Vince McMahon today: “There may not be a halftime….We’re going to try to get to two hours.”

The XFL will field eight teams with each having a 40-man roster. The regular season has 10 games, followed by playoffs.

McMahon said quality of play is important. Lesson learned from 2001. Better quality of play is needed.

Vince McMahon today: “Fans want good football…It will be a better football game than what everyone is accustomed to.”

Vince McMahon today: “It’s still football, but we’ll make it as safe as policy.” (Get with experts to make it as safe as possible.)

Vince McMahon today: “Most importantly, we’re going to listen to fans.”

The XFL will own all its teams. No franchises. Research will be done to decide what cities get the teams.

Vince McMahon today: “We’re way away from announcing cities.. That’s something we’ll announce in the future.”

How will the new XFL effect McMahon’s roles with WWE: “It won’t effect it all. I’ll continue to be the CEO and Chairman of the Board of WWE…There will be no crossover from WWE to the new XFL.”

McMahon said he will turn to football personnel to run the football league. He reiterated there will be no crossover with the new XFL and WWE including the broadcasters. Jonathan Coachman, Craig DeGeorge (Craig Minervini), Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Jesse Ventura were part of the XFL broadcast team in 2001. Minervini is working in sports media for FOX Sports Florida in South Florida covering the MLB Miami Marlins and NHL Florida Panthers. Coachman recently worked for ESPN.

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As for the National Anthem, Vince McMahon said: “It is a time-honored tradition to stand and appreciate the National Anthem with any sport here in America. In any country they do that. I think it would be appropriate to do that.”

Technology with digital and social media is a major player in today’s programming landscape, and WWE is a cornerstone of that foundation.

McMahon said viewers can watch the XFL on mobile devices, big screens and all other ways.