After the fiasco that was the Alliance of American Football, it would be understandable if fans were wary of the second coming of the XFL. But while the previous incarnation of the league in 2001 left little to be desired, the new version set to begin play in February of 2020 may actual have a head start on previous attempts at creating a sustainable league after announcing a number of notable TV partners on Monday.
As per a report by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, the football league owned by billionaire Chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon, has secured agreements with Fox and ESPN to broadcast more than half of the XFL’s games next year. A deal that the AAF failed to agree with their broadcast partners for their inaugural season.
BREAKING: broadcast TV telecasts to be big component for @xfl2020 multiyear deals with @espn and @FOXSports (24 of 43 games on ABC or Fox). No rights fee paid. ESPN and Fox hold streaming rights https://t.co/UEbdcpoL1v pic.twitter.com/USdLtXTmHT— Sports Business Journal (@sbjsbd) May 6, 2019
No rights fees will be paid by Fox or ESPN to air the games, but both networks will pick up all of the associated production costs for each broadcast. The schedule will include back-back games on Saturday and Sunday through the first eight weeks of the season, with the addition of a Thursday night game in the final two weeks of the season in lieu of one of the Saturday games.
When speaking to the media about the agreement, McMahon was clearly very happy with the league’s new partner. As reported by Scooby Axson of Sports Illustrated.
“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 re-imagine football. The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”
The XFL will kick of their new season in February 8, with Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C. the host cities for the eight teams that will make up the league in 2020. The league championship will be held on April 26, assuming the XFL lasts that long.