Vince McMahon is planning to re-launch the XFL in 2020 and he’ll have some competition alongside the NFL when he does.
Charlie Ebersol, who directed an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the XFL last year has announced that his league, the Alliance of American Football, will debut on February 9th, 2019, a week after the conclusion of Super Bowl LIII.
This will hit McMahon a little close to home as Charlie is the son of longtime television executive Dick Ebersol, who was McMahon’s partner in the original XFL.
Ebersol brought on former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian to help him steer the league.
Ebersol also brought on Pittsburgh Steelers great Troy Polamalu and former USC standout and executive J.K. McKay to help oversee the player side and team side of the league.
Former NFL players Hines Ward and Justin Tuck, as well as Dick Ebersol will serve as advisors.
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and The Chernin Group are backing the new league.
“I think where businesses like this fail is that they expect to have ludicrous and unrealistic ticket and media deal projections in Year 1,” Ebersol said. “Our investors here understand that it’s a seven-to-10-year plan.”
Ebersol says that his league, made up of players who didn’t make the cut for the NFL, will have the initial contest and the championship game on CBS and one game a week on CBS Sports Network.
Other games will be available for streaming on the league’s mobile app, which Ebersol says will integrate live fantasy football play into the broadcasts.
“Fifty-nine million people play fantasy and 20 million people play only fantasy football,” Ebersol. “We have to be able to take advantage of the people who just stop playing fantasy when the NFL season ends.”
“There are 28,000 Division I football players,” Ebersol said. “Only 1,700 have NFL jobs,” Ebersol said. “We’re looking for those Kurt Warners working in grocery stores and we think we will find them.”
The eight teams in cities that will be announced in the next three months will start by having regional drafts.
Ebersol said a hallmark of the league will be no TV timeouts and 60 percent fewer commercials, as well as an innovative approach to broadcasting.
The league will also feature no kickoffs (the ball will be placed automatically at the 25-yard line) and no onside kicks. The losing team will start on their own 35-yard line with 4th-and-10, play clocks will be 30 seconds in duration, and every touchdown will be followed by a 2-point conversion attempt.
Move over Vince McMahon, the XFL now has some serious competition.