The XFL is a planned professional American football league owned by Vince McMahon's Alpha Entertainment, and is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. It is a successor to the previous XFL, which was controlled by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and NBC, and ran for a single season in 2001. The league will follow a similar structure as the original XFL did in 2001, with eight teams, centrally owned and operated by the league and spread across the United States in markets currently or recently represented by a National Football League (NFL) franchise, competing in a ten-game season and a two-week postseason in the winter and spring months.
In announcing the reformed XFL, McMahon stated that while it would share its name and trademark with the previous incarnation, it will not rely on professional wrestling-inspired features and entertainment elements as its predecessor did, instead aiming to create a league with fewer off-field controversies and faster, simpler play compared to the NFL.
|Inaugural season||2020 (planned)|
|Owner(s)||Alpha Entertainment LLC|
|No. of teams||8|
The XFL originally ran for a single season in 2001, as a joint venture between WWF and NBC spearheaded by Vince McMahon and NBC executive Dick Ebersol. The league attempted to be a competitor to the National Football League—the predominant professional league of American football in the United States (and where NBC had recently lost its broadcast rights to CBS), running during the late winter and early spring to take advantage of lingering desire for football after the end of the NFL season. It featured various modifications to the rules of football in order to increase its intensity, as well as on-air innovations such as Skycams, placing microphones on players, and in-game interviews with players. The league was ultimately criticized for relying too heavily on "sports entertainment" gimmicks similar to professional wrestling (including emphasizing violence and sex appeal as part of its identity), and for the lack of high-level talent among its players. Despite strong ratings for its first games, viewership eventually nosedived, and the league folded after the conclusion of the inaugural season. Both partners lost $35 million on the XFL, and McMahon conceded that the league was a "colossal failure".
In the 2017 ESPN documentary This Was the XFL, McMahon openly mused about reviving the XFL, noting that changes would need to be made compared to 2001 in order to make it viable and relevant in the modern era. (The director of This Was the XFL, Charlie Ebersol, would go on to announce the Alliance of American Football in March 2018, hoping to beat the revived XFL to play.) On December 15, 2017, Bleacher Report columnist Brad Shepard reported that McMahon was seriously considering a revival of the XFL, with an expected announcement on January 25, 2018. In a statement to Deadspin, WWE did not confirm or deny the rumors, but did state that McMahon was establishing a new company known as Alpha Entertainment, which would "explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football." On December 21, 2017, WWE issued a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that McMahon had sold $100 million worth of WWE stock to fund Alpha Entertainment. Alpha Entertainment is headquartered next door to WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
On January 25, 2018, Alpha Entertainment announced a new incarnation of the XFL, which would begin with a 10-week inaugural season beginning in January or February 2020. In a press conference, McMahon stated that the new XFL would be dissimilar to its previous incarnation, stating that "There's only so many things that have 'FL' on the end of them and those are already taken. But we aren't going to have much of what the original XFL had, including the cheerleaders, who aren't really part of the game anymore. The audience wants entertainment with football, and that's what we are going to give them." McMahon stated that the league would feature eight teams as a single entity owned by Alpha (the previous XFL was also a single-entity league), which had been revealed in 2019. Alpha Entertainment was established in order to keep the league's management and operations separate from that of WWE. McMahon is prepared to invest as much as $500 million, five times as much as his investment in the 2001 XFL. The XFL's decision to nix cheerleaders is in part due to changing attitudes regarding women's participation in entertaining sports fans.
The XFL will discourage political gestures by players during games such as, for example, taking a knee in protest. McMahon also originally planned to forbid any player with a criminal record from participating (Commissioner Oliver Luck later walked back the latter decision, noting that the policy had not yet been finalized). McMahon justified his intentions by stating that the XFL would be "evaluating a player based on many things, including the quality of human being they are", and that "people don't want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained". He suggested that players who wish to express political opinions should do so on their personal time. Luck further stated that players cannot publicly endorse political candidates or issues, and noted that the ban on protesting during the national anthem will be written into player contracts as a condition of employment.
McMahon did not reveal any specific details on rule changes that the new XFL would feature, but did state that he aimed to reduce the length of games to around two hours (in contrast to the current standard in American football, which generally runs slightly over three hours). The league later revised this to a 2½-hour target length. He also noted that by announcing it two years in advance (unlike the original XFL, which was only announced one year in advance), there would also be more time to prepare the league in order to deliver a more desirable product.
McMahon denied that the timing of the announcement was meant to coincide with a recent ratings downturn being experienced by the NFL, explaining that "what has happened there is their business, and I'm not going to knock those guys, but I am going to learn from their mistakes as anyone would if they were tasked with reimagining a new football league."
On June 5, 2018, Oliver Luck was named the league's commissioner and chief executive officer. Luck will leave his previous positions with the NCAA to take over the operations of the XFL. Doug Whaley, most recently general manager of the Buffalo Bills, was hired as the league's senior vice president of football operations on November 8, 2018.. On January 22, 2019 Jeffrey Pollack was named as the President & Chief Operating Officer, coming from his previous role as the Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and Special Advisor for the Los Angeles Chargers.
The league commissioner announced the eight host cities and stadiums for the first franchises on December 5, 2018, and also announced the starting date of February 8, 2020; the weekend after Super Bowl LIV. Its first head coach and general manager, Dallas's Bob Stoops, was announced February 7, 2019, with the coaches for Seattle (Jim Zorn), Washington (Pep Hamilton), and Tampa Bay (Marc Trestman) following later in the month; Luck has announced that all team head coaches and names will be named by April 2019.
McMahon stated that he wanted to play in existing NFL markets but did not identify potential cities specifically and did not rule out any specific cities. McMahon also did not rule out playing on artificial turf. The original XFL avoided artificial playing surfaces (as most such surfaces then were more carpet-like); the technology, however, has advanced considerably since 2001, with modern artifical turfs mimicking real grass more closely. John Shumway from KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and local media from Orlando and San Diego both inquired about potential teams in their respective cities, but McMahon (while stating that "I love Pittsburgh") declined to name any cities for teams. McMahon also stated that teams would have new identities compared to recycling old identities from the old league. The league sent solicitations to thirty metropolitan areas as potential locations for a team. The league commissioner announced the eight host cities and stadiums for the first franchises on December 5, 2018.
The XFL standard form contract will offer players a salary of $7,500 per game, substantially higher than the 2018 minimum of the Canadian Football League and roughly in line with the 2001 XFL's $4,500 base salary when adjusted for inflation. Marquee talent will be eligible for up to a $300,000 annual salary, which is substantially less than marquee players make in NFL and CFL.  XFL contracts are for one year, with no restrictions on joining other leagues after the season ends; this is in particular contrast to the Alliance of American Football, which requires players to sign three-year contracts, and the CFL, which requires new players to sign two-year deals. Head coaches will be eligible for up to a $500,000 salary, with each team having a football operations staff of 25 people. The XFL explicitly wants to avoid any minor league developmental partnership with the NFL or any other league, so as not to lose control of its personnel decisions. 45 players will be signed to each team's roster, up from 38 in the previous league. In contrast to the original XFL, players' health insurance will be covered by the league. League officials anticipate the players will not have formed a labor union, by the time play commences, thus league policies will not be subject to collective bargaining. The league has suggested that players will earn bonuses for each game they win, ensuring each team continues to stay competitive and players have a significant stake in the outcome of each game.
As McMahon owns a minority stake in DraftKings, the XFL aims to run its official fantasy football and betting operations through that service, if legal hurdles can be cleared. Oliver Luck has stated he anticipates mobile sports betting to be legal in many states by the 2020 launch date, much like it is in New Jersey, and hopes to integrate legal sports betting as part of the XFL.
McMahon stated that he aimed to leverage digital streaming as part of broadcasting arrangements for the XFL; he felt that fans did not necessarily want digital streams to be a straight simulcast of a television broadcast, and wanted more "totally different ways" to watch football. The XFL will not consider viewership to be a metric of its success; McMahon argued that "to me the landscape has changed in so many different ways. Just look at technology and companies like Facebook and Amazon bidding for sports rights. Even if ratings go down, there's no denying that live sports rights continue to be valuable and continue to deliver."
In January 2019, Sports Business Journal reported that the XFL was desiring that the majority of games air on broadcast television, and was in preliminary talks with ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports as potential broadcast partners.
Salaries will be in line with AAF competitor the XFL, which has said it will pay players an average of $75,000 per season.
Champions Indoor Football (CIF) is a professional indoor American football league created in 2014 out of the merger between the Champions Professional Indoor Football League (CPIFL) and Lone Star Football League (LSFL), plus one team from the Indoor Football League and two expansion teams. Players are paid $75 – $300 per game before taxes. No other benefits are provided.College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and interactive attraction devoted to college football. The National Football Foundation (NFF) founded the Hall in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football.
From 1995 to 2012, the Hall was located in South Bend, Indiana.
In August 2014, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame opened in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The facility is a 94,256 square feet (8,756.7 m2) attraction located in the heart of Atlanta's sports, entertainment and tourism district, and is adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park.Dallas XFL team
The XFL Dallas is a professional American football team based in Dallas, Texas. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, which is being repurposed as a football venue after its previous tenant, Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers, relocates to the newly built Globe Life Field.Dallas joins Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. as the league's inaugural cities. It is the first professional outdoor football team to play in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in a league other than the NFL since the Dallas Texans of the American Football League left the area to become the Kansas City Chiefs; the metro area has been represented by numerous indoor teams, such as the Arena Football League's Dallas Texans, Fort Worth Cavalry, Dallas Desperados and Dallas Vigilantes, and the Indoor Football League's Allen Wranglers and Texas Revolution. It enters a relatively crowded winter sports market against the NHL's Stars and NBA's Mavericks. The team will also have to compete with MLS's FC Dallas in March and April.
Teams will have 40-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said “the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours”, and will draw from former college and NFL players.On February 7, 2019, Bob Stoops, the longtime head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners football team, was hired as the Dallas team's head coach. Stoops was the XFL's first head coaching hire.Freedom Football League
The Freedom Football League (FFL) is a planned professional spring-summer American football league.Houston XFL team
The XFL Houston is a professional American football team based in Houston, Texas. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at TDECU Stadium.Independent Women's Football League
The Independent Women's Football League (IWFL) is a full-contact Women's American football league that was founded in 2000 and began play in 2001. It is one of three 11-on-11 U.S. football leagues for women, along with the Women's Football Alliance and the United States Women's Football League, and the oldest of the three. Laurie Frederick, Deborah DelToro, and K Disney are the league's founders.
The players are not paid to play; on the contrary, players must contribute funds to cover part of their expenses.Ladies Gridiron League
The Ladies Gridiron League (LGL) is an Australian-based non-for-profit company running a full contact, 7-a-side, women's American football league. It was created in March 2012 with an overall aim of developing American football upon Australian shores. It is an exclusively run, invite only competition with a focus on professionalism, athleticism and fun. The league aim is “to create a fun and competitive environment that supports the development of females in sport and raises the awareness of Gridiron in Australia. The LGL aims to establish a female Gridiron community that has the ability to mentor people in need, promote fairness, teamwork and respect.”Los Angeles XFL team
The Los Angeles XFL team is a professional American football team based in Los Angeles, California. The team is a franchise of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment, a major television network in the United States. The team will play its home games at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, currently home to the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers (which will be vacating the stadium in favor of the new Los Angeles stadium at Hollywood Park before the XFL's arrival) and MLS’s LA Galaxy.Los Angeles joins New York, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. as the league's inaugural cities. Teams will have 40-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said "the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours", and will draw from former college and NFL players.XFL (2020) commissioner and chief executive Oliver Luck also said there would be franchises in Houston, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, D.C., when the league kicks off the weekend of February 8–9, one week after Super Bowl LIV.Minor league
Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities/markets. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in various sports. They generally have lesser fan bases and smaller budgets.
The minor league concept is a manifestation of the franchise system used in North American sports, whereby the group of major league teams in each sport is fixed for long periods between expansions or other adjustments, which only take place with the consent of the major league owners. In Europe, and many other parts of the world, the football leagues have many divisions below the top-flight as part of the football pyramid. In other parts of the world there is usually either a system of annual promotion and relegation, meaning that clubs have no fixed status in the hierarchy, or there is only one professional league per country in each sport, rendering the major/minor distinction irrelevant.National Arena League
The National Arena League (NAL) is a professional indoor football league that began play in 2017. It consists of six teams based in the East Coast of the United States.National Gridiron League (United States)
The National Gridiron League (NGL) is a proposed indoor football league based out of Jacksonville, Florida. It that plans to start play in spring 2019 with 12 teams aligned in two divisions. The season was announced to start on March 30, 2019, and conclude with the inaugural Gridiron Bowl game on August 10, 2019, in Biloxi, Mississippi. However, the league has pushed back the announced start of the inaugural season to May 2019 amid reports the league has not had finalized leases for many of its teams.New York XFL team
The New York XFL team is a professional American football team based in New York City, New York. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. MetLife Stadium is currently home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets and, at 82,500 seats, is the largest stadium in the XFL.Seattle XFL team
The XFL Seattle is a professional American football team based in Seattle, Washington. The team is a franchise of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment, a major television network in the United States. The team will play its home games at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The open-air football stadium has a capacity of over 69,000 and a roof covering 70 percent of the seating area. The stadium was uniquely constructed for sound and has twice held the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd at an outdoor stadium.Seattle joins New York, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. as the league's inaugural cities.
Teams will have 40-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said “the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours”, and will draw from former college and NFL players.Pete Carroll, the coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks was also “fired up” about the major announcement of the brand-new pro sports franchise on its way to Seattle. The as-yet unnamed XFL football team will start play at CenturyLink Field on Feb. 8 or 9, 2020, one week after Super Bowl LIV.St. Louis XFL team
The XFL St. Louis is a professional American football team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at The Dome at America's Center.
St. Louis joins Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. as the league's inaugural cities.
Teams will have 45-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said “the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours”, and will draw from former college and NFL players.The league will begin play in February of 2020. Commissioner Oliver Luck has said team names, head coaches, and starting quarterbacks will be announced by March 31, 2019.Tampa Bay XFL team
The XFL Tampa Bay is a professional American football team based in Tampa, Florida. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL (2020) begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at Raymond James Stadium, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL.
Tampa Bay joins Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. as the league's inaugural cities. Teams will have 40-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said "the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours", and will draw from former college and NFL players.On March 5, 2019, Marc Trestman was announced to be the head coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay XFL team.United States Women's Football League
The United States Women's Football League (USWFL) is a full-contact women's American football league that opened with exhibition play in 2010 and subsequently played its first regular season in 2011. The league was known as the "Women's Spring Football League" from 2009–2015. It is the newest of three full-contact, 11-on-11 football leagues for women, along with the Independent Women's Football League and the Women's Football Alliance.
The USWFL played with 11-player and 8-player divisions from 2011 through 2013. In 2014, the league split into two leagues, with the 11-woman division retaining the WSFL name and the 8-woman division taking the name the Women's Eights Football League (W8FL). In 2016, the league played only 11-woman football with the Cincinnati Sizzle taking the league crown.United States women's national American football team
The United States Women's National American Football Team is the official American football senior national team of the United States.Washington, D.C. XFL team
The XFL DC is a professional U.S. football team based in Washington, D.C. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment. The team will play its home games at Audi Field, a soccer-specific stadium being shared with its current tenant, Major League Soccer's D.C. United. At 20,000 seats, Audi Field is the smallest stadium in the XFL.
DC joins Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Dallas as the league's inaugural cities. Teams will have 40-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said "the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours", and will draw from former college and NFL players.On February 21, 2019, the team hired Pep Hamilton, who most recently was an assistant with the Michigan Wolverines football team, as their first head coach. Hamilton is an alumnus of Howard University and was familiar to XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck through Hamilton's work with Luck's son, Andrew.Women's Football Alliance
The Women's Football Alliance (WFA) is a full-contact Women's American football league that began play in 2009. It is one of three full-contact, 11-on-11 football leagues for women, along with the Independent Women's Football League and the United States Women's Football League, and the largest of the three. The league is owned and operated by Jeff and Lisa King of Exeter, California.
Professional gridiron football leagues in North America