The XFL has filed for bankruptcy, and the legal documents are available online, and they make for some interesting reading. It turns out that WWE partially owned the football league after all, despite claims that it would be completely separate from the wrestling company.
The world learned last Friday that the XFL had ceased operations and laid off its staff, with no plans to return in 2021. That marked the end of Vince McMahon's second attempt to start an alternative football league, and this time, it was through no fault of his own. The XFL was generally well-received in its launch this time, with most fans appreciating its presentation and take on the rules. Rather than being presented as a competitor to the NFL, the XFL was advertised as complimentary, airing after the NFL season ended for fans who still wanted to watch more football.
What a Tangled Web the XFL Weaves
Unfortunately, a country-wide shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic ended the XFL's triumphant return, and it looks like the league may be done for good. Perhaps the most interesting part of the XFL's bankruptcy filing is the listing of exactly who owned the stock. 100% of the Class A stock was owned by Vince McMahon, and he also owned 76.5% of the Class B stock, with the remaining 23.5% owned by WWE. A lawsuit was filed last year by the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, a shareholder of WWE, which demanded information on WWE resources being diverted to fund the XFL. That lawsuit was dropped earlier this month, but it looks like the Firefighters were aware of the old saying: where there's smoke, there's fire.
The XFL issued a statement on its demise, saying, "The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football. Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Accordingly, we have filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This is a heartbreaking time for many, including our passionate fans, players, and staff, and we are thankful to them, our television partners, and the many Americans who rallied to the XFL for the love of football." According to a report by THR, the league is now up for sale. Any takers?