Early on Thursday, WWE.com broke the news that chairman and CEO Vince McMahon would be holding a press conference at 3 p.m. ET, broadcast on all social platforms for his new company, Alpha Entertainment.
The conference was purported to address the new sports ventures that Alpha will be taking, and many had already made the assumption (based on numerous reports indicating as much) that said new sports ventures would include a brand new football league to compete with the NFL, perhaps with the same “XFL” branding that McMahon attempted in 2001.
The most recent report prior to Thursday’s official announcement indicated that an announcement for the new XFL would be forthcoming, and that the likely plan was for the league to launch in 2020, after building infrastructure and scouting talent.
Confirmation of the XFL returning actually made its way out in an unusual way, as Alpha did a test-stream that revealed some new logos and typefaces.
The press conference began with a video package confirming right off the bat that the new XFL would indeed kick off in 2020, and that the XFL would be “safer” and would have “fewer infractions.” McMahon then stepped to the semi-virtual podium and said the XFL would have many questions for the fans. He placed an emphasis on listening to fans, and what they would like to see from professional football.
McMahon promised the new league would be streamlined, faster-pased, shorter, and easier to follow than the NFL. He confirmed they would start with eight teams playing a 10-game regular season, followed by a postseason, and that the teams would have 40-man rosters.
McMahon then took questions from the press via a call-in number. Among the notable tidbits to come out of the questions are that there is “interest” from television broadcasters for carrying the new XFL, that he will remain the CEO and chairman of WWE, and that there will be absolutely no crossover between WWE and XFL. He also mentioned this will likely be the last fans will see of him as the figurehead of XFL, as he’ll move to a behind-the-scenes role and the XFL will hire more appropriate and seasoned spokespersons.
As for the teams, McMahon says they are “way away” from announcing team host cities, as they’re still researching best locations, but that the teams will all be owned by XFL, and will not be the “franchise” model employed by the major sports leagues. As to safety and CTE concerns, McMahon said that reimagining football while still keeping it football involves safety breakthroughs, and that they will listen to medical experts and try to make the league as safe as they possibly can.
A question came up about whether President Trump will support the league. McMahon laughed, said he had no idea if Trump will support the league, and then took the opportunity to emphatically emphasize that the XFL will involve no politics whatsoever. Later, when asked how XFL will enforce its “no politics” directive, McMahon referenced league directives and guidelines that will be followed, and specifically mentioned the National Anthem prior to games is a time-honored tradition.
So there you have it. Are you ready for ADDITIONAL football?