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THE XFL SHUTS DOWN FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON

By Mike Johnson on 2020-03-12 19:23:00

The XFL issued the following, obviously a by-product of the coronavirus outbreak:

 

Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games. However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years.

In 2018, McMahon launched a new company, Alpha Entertainment, to pursue a number of potential entertainment endeavors as well as a potental relaunch of the XFL.   The original XFL launched in 2001 as a joint venture between NBC and WWE, existing for one season before shutting down.  This version of the XFL was birthed coming out of an ESPN 30For30 documentary about the rise and fall of the 2001 failed version of the league, "This Was The XFL" i

That documentary ncluded footage of McMahon and NBC Executive Dick Ebersol discussing their memories of their partnership in the league over dinner and the idea of launching it today.  During those discussions, McMahon admitted that he had "recently" had talks with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about the idea of a "minor league NFL."   The Director of that documentary was Charlie Ebersol, Dick's son, who later approached McMahon with the idea of purchasing the XFL rights and resurrecting the league. 

Instead, McMalhon did it himself while Ebersol went on to form the Alliance of American Football (AAF), which launched after the 2019 Super Bowl and folded within months.   The AAF launched in February 2019, one year before the XFL's planned 2020 kickoff.    Despite having a broadcast agreement with CBS, the AAF League almost immediately ran into cash flow difficulties, requiring a new $250 million investment, which made Tom Dundon the new majority owner.  Dundon later made the decision to shut down the league, leaving the XFL's goal of becoming a new alternative football league unemcumbered while also showing the dangers of such a business launch.

Now, the XFL has shut down before the end of its return season, for much different reasons.  Unlike the AAF, the XFL promises to return next year, TV deals with ABC/ESPN and FOX in hand.

***

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