Vince McMahon is bringing back the XFL, and he’s throwing a lot of his money into the venture to make it a reality. The WWE chairman’s infamous NFL competition was a bit of a disaster
McMahon announced a reboot of the XFL in January, billing it as an alternative to an NFL that saw significant controversy in recent years and is amid a public relations crisis on various fronts. But the key to making the XFL work a second go around isn’t necessarily how much people don’t like the NFL, but how the XFL can get people interested in an alternative before the money runs out.
And as it turns out, it’s going to take a lot of money to get the XFL back up off the ground. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported on Friday that McMahon has told investors he intends to spend as much as $500 million of his own money on the venture, a huge amount for the startup league that doesn’t even have an official launch date yet.
Rovell’s story highlights some of the costs the league has racked up already, and what will cost McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment as the league’s season actually plays out. It also says where McMahon got all this liquid cash in the first place.
The WWE chairman, who began the funding of the league by selling approximately $100 million in WWE stock and putting into his wholly owned Alpha Entertainment, has informed insiders that he expects to spend closer to $500 million in the league’s first three seasons.
Insurance, player salaries and various other costs seem to be the reason for the big price tag, and XFL CEO and commissioner Oliver Luck also revealed how much players will be making on average in the XFL.
Luck said the biggest cost will be the salaries to pay players and coaches. Luck, for the first time, said the average salary for the 40-man rosters will hover around $75,000, with players that are more in demand making much more than that. Players in the first iteration of the XFL, co-owned by McMahon and NBC, paid players an average of $45,000 for a 10-week schedule.
It’s unclear if much of that $500 million will simply be sunk costs or if there’s a model in place to make some of that money back. But McMahon is banking on it working, and he’s certainly putting a big financial investment into the proverbial ring to show that he’s learned the lessons of the first XFL’s failure.