Vince McMahon, founder and chairman of Stamford-headquartered WWE, is preparing to launch a new version of his one-time XFL professional football league.
Plans for the XFL at launch time include eight teams, 40-man rosters and a 10-week regular-season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.
“I wanted to do this since the day we stopped the other one,” McMahon told ESPN in an interview. “A chance to do it with no partners, strictly funded by me, which would allow me to look in the mirror and say, ‘You were the one who screwed this up,’ or ‘You made this thing a success.'”
Last month, WWE filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring McMahon would sell approximately $100 million in stock to fund Alpha Entertainment, which the filing described as a McMahon company whose investment strategy will include professional football. In announcing the new XFL, McMahon said that he would be sole funding source of this endeavor, adding that teams would be formed in 2019, with the first games to be played in 2020. The announcement came without any word on broadcast rights for the league or possible franchise locations. However, McMahon added that he would not hire players with criminal records and would not have players kneeling during the National Anthem.
“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” McMahon said. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.”
McMahon’s WWE Properties International and NBC co-owned the original XFL, an eight-team league which played a single season in 2001 before shutting down as a ratings and financial failure.
The article has been updated since it was originally published.