- Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL at a press conference on Thursday, saying the league was preparing to kick off in 2020.
- While McMahon was the face of the original XFL, he made clear that this time around he would have a much less front-facing role than in 2001, and he would still be retaining his role with WWE.
- McMahon also made clear that the new XFL would be far from the hard-hitting league known for promoting violence, and instead would be focusing on fans and player safety.
Vince McMahon is attempting to bring back the XFL in 2020.
At a press conference on Thursday, McMahon announced his plan to bring back the league, but also noted some stark differences between the reboot of the XFL and its single, failed season in 2001.
If you remember anything from the original XFL besides “He Hate Me,” chances are it’s McMahon screaming “THIS IS THE XFL” before the first game of the season. Back in 2001, McMahon was largely the face of the league, and had the final say on many decisions regarding everything from the league rules, commentary teams, and broadcast direction – similar to his all-encompassing role with WWE.
But in the new XFL, McMahon says things will be different.
“Quite frankly this may be the last you see of me in terms of being out front,” McMahon said when asked about his role in the new league. “I won’t be out in front. We’re going to hire people who really know what they’re doing – experienced executives who will be out in front. It won’t be me.”
Another big difference is that the new XFL will have no connection to WWE, and is funded by a completely separate entity – McMahon’s newly created Alpha Entertainment. McMahon sold approximately $100 million worth of his WWE shares to start the company and that money will presumably serve as the initial funding for the league.
The original XFL was a joint venture between WWE and NBC, with WWE talent working as play-by-play announcers and sideline reporters. Both companies ended up losing $70 million each by the time the league folded, and the failure was not a great look for the WWE as a brand.
McMahon was emphatic that the league would be separate from the WWE, saying “Quite frankly, $100 million to start with is a little too rich for WWE as far as investment is concerned.”
McMahon said that he would also retain his role as CEO and Chairman at WWE with final say on all creative decisions, giving further credence to the idea that he might have a more hands-off approach to this iteration of the XFL.
He also repeatedly mentioned bringing in professionals to develop the league in a way that makes sense, citing poor quality of play as one of the main issues that caused the failure of the XFL in its first form. McMahon also made clear that the new XFL would be a family-friendly environment – far from the hard-hitting, cheerleader locker room camera-having league that additionally flamed out 17 years ago.
If what McMahon says about his new vision for the league turns out to be true, the XFL will look and feel very different than it did in 2001, and those differences just may help it be more successful this time around.