Looking to move out from underneath the shadow of the recently shuttered Alliance of American Football (AAF) as well as learn from its own disastrous past (with the hopes of not repeating it), WWE head Vince McMahon's XFL has announced multi-year deals with both ESPN and FOX Sports to televise league games beginning with the inaugural 2020 season.
"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 reimagine football. The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend."
– Vince McMahon
On February 8, 2020, the new/rebooted football league kicks off with teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C. The XFL is set t0 have televised back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with broadcast time on ABC and FOX and cable airings on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. The league is expected to make announcements regarding additional programming and on-air talent as the launch date nears.
"We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league's inaugural season. Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry's most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league. We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football."
– Burke Magnus, EVP of Programming and Scheduling, ESPN
In it's previous life, the WWE/NBC-backed XFL lasted for all of one season in 2001 – but McMahon would tease the league's return in an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary spotlighting the league's single season run. Both McMahon and commissioner Oliver Luck are promising fans a league that's both entertaining for viewers and safe for the players – while adding some unique aspects to the coverage.
"We welcome the XFL to the FOX Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon. Football is in FOX Sports' DNA and a key component of our programming strategy. Alongside Oliver Luck and his incredible team, we're excited for the debut of the XFL on FOX Sports."
– Eric Shanks, CEO & Executive Producer, FOX Sports