The XFL filed for bankruptcy not long after the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the league to close the doors on the 2020 season. It was a move that surprised some and, recently, some creditors accused Vince McMahon of shuttering the league so he could secretly buy it back for pennies on the dollar and relaunch it in 2021.
The creditors questioned why McMahon would pay out refunds for all ticket holders if not to keep goodwill with the fan base for a potential return, particularly in non-NFL markets. On Tuesday, McMahon pulled out of the bidding for the bankrupt league, citing those accusations as the chief reason why, per court testimony that was part of filings recovered by Dan Kaplan of The Athletic.
“I don’t know why that’s out there, making me out to be the bad guy, (that) I’m going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar, basically,” McMahon said last week in deposition testimony, part of which he included in a footnote to his legal filing. “That helped me move into the direction of I’m not going to be a bidder, not going to have anything to do with it. I do hope that someone will pay a lot of money for it, and I do hope that it will survive.”
While McMahon is now out of the running, there are apparently 20 potential buyers that have agreed to NDA’s to look through the league’s records and make a determination on whether they want to make bids on the league, with six more teams in process of signing similar agreements. The XFL has apparently made a case that its innovations in television broadcast access makes it uniquely positioned for a swift return in 2021, with or without fans, because of the in-game audio direct from players and coaches.
The expectation seems to be that whoever buys the XFL will look to bring it back for another season. The only thing we know right now is that Vince McMahon will not be the one executing that vision.