The XFL is returning in January 2020 with 8 league-owned teams, a 10-week regular season (plus a 4-team playoff) and none of the gimmicks (i.e. no fair catch) that the league was associated with during its 2001 iteration. McMahon is hoping shorter games (2 hours) and more wholesome players (i.e. without a criminal past, DUI included) and simplified rules (did you know leaping is banned on field goals in the NFL?) will win fans over. Few details of the league have been released (i.e. cities, team names, player salary structure etc.), but McMahon has promised the games will not be a platform for social and political statements and the XFL will not be a developmental league for NFL talent. The NFL has chosen not to comment on the announcement.
Howie Long-Short: This is a $100 million venture personally financed by Vince McMahon (he recently sold 3.5 million shares to fund it), not the WWE, and McMahon was clear there will be no crossover between the league and WWE talent; but that didn’t stop investors from bumping the stock up 2% following the press conference. Shares closed on Wednesday at $34.13, the first time the stock has ever closed above $34. The stock is up more than 50% since October.
Fan Marino: When you consider McMahon’s statement, “we have two years to really get this right”, you begin to realize it isn’t a coincidence the league is starting in 2020. The public line will be that the extra time will give teams a chance to gel and it will result in a better on field product; but, the NFL CBA expires following the 2020 season. Should a strike or lockout occur, McMahon is going to try and sign top-tier NFL talent to provide his league with some credibility. It’s a long-shot, but he has the money to gamble with and knows there is a $14 billion pot of gold (NFL revenue in ’17) on the other side if he can pull it off.