With the AAF collapsing in spectacular fashion, the table is now clear for the XFL to return in 2020. Having already gone out of business once, Vince McMahon’s effort to build a second viable league should be on more solid ground than the AAF ever was, although that was a low bar.
In addition to McMahon’s investment and the extra year to plan, the league announced their broadcast partnerships today, which will see games aired on ESPN, ABC, FOX, FS1, and FS2.
From the release:
The XFL today announced multi-year agreements with ESPN and FOX Sports to televise XFL games starting with its inaugural 2020 season. XFL games will air weekly on broadcast TV (ABC and FOX) complemented by games on cable (ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2). The XFL TV schedule allows for consistent appointment viewing each week with back-to-back games starting Saturday afternoons at 2 pm ET as well as two additional games on Sunday afternoons.
The schedule itself will see games rotate across various networks from week to week starting on February 8th, running through the April 26th championship game on ESPN.
It’s an impressive array, and certainly a stronger lineup than the AAF managed to cobble together, a sign that the networks believe in the XFL’s viability to at least make it through one season, and perhaps establish itself going forward. The principals for ESPN, Fox Sports, and the league all offered their own statements on the news, in typical press release verbatim:
“We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league’s inaugural season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “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.”
“We welcome the XFL to the FOX Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports CEO & Executive Producer. “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.”
“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,” said Vince McMahon, XFL Founder & Chairman. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”
Obviously it’s an uphill climb for any league to try what the XFL is trying, but lining up this list of broadcast partners is a good start.