The NFL is finally starting to suffer from the same kinds of ratings challenges that have plagued other TV programming, but live sports remain one of the biggest viewership guarantees. So no one should be surprised to learn that WWE mastermind Vince McMahon is rebooting his short-lived XFL brand in an effort to once again introduce a new flavor of sports entertainment to audiences. Many changes abound this time around, though, and McMahon promises this iteration of the XFL will be all about doing what the fans want.
Vince McMahon plans to bring his updated XFL to TV viewers in 2020, which will allow two years' worth of preparation for the myriad elements that need to be figured out. Some ideas are already locked in, though, such as a foundation of eight teams with 40-member rosters, with a ten-week season that would culminate in two playoff rounds and then a championship game. McMahon wants his XFL games to be streamlined, possibly with limited commercial interruption, and he's aiming for two-hour game times.
Interestingly, Vince McMahon is going to be the sole financial push behind the revamped XFL, which will give him full approval over any and all aspects of the league, and he plans on utilizing that role. According to McMahon, when the XFL starts picking its team cities and putting the rosters together, no one with a criminal record will be considered. Which means that troubled NFL prospects like Johnny Manziel won't get a second chance with the XFL, as reported by ESPN, even though Manziel took to Twitter with a slight appeal. Tim Tebow, however, is welcome to try out. Just don't call the XFL a training camp for the NFL, because McMahon is not into that description.
As well, it's worth noting that this new take on the XFL will avoid some of the more over-the-top elements that made the single 2001 season so polarizing. There won't be any cheerleaders around to distract from the game itself, and other gimmicks will similarly be left in the past. That said, Vince McMahon does believe that modern viewers who stream games want to see a different kind of broadcast than the ones that TV is traditionally known for, so he may introduce some more interactive and immersive elements for online viewing.
At this point, Vince McMahon hasn't yet started conversations with any media outlets about where the XFL could end up. Considering the WWE has its cable home at USA, it would make a bit of sense for the XFL to remain within the NBCUniversal family, but perhaps McMahon will go completely out of the box this go-around. This would possibly be a good time for a streaming-first company like YouTube or Facebook to step in and push this hype-founded organization out to viewers all over the place.
It's clear that Vince McMahon isn't merely trying to ape the NFL here, and he claims that he definitely wasn't inspired by the League's recent troubles over ratings and its "national anthem kneeling" controversy that marked the early half of the 2017-2018 season. He'll also be offering a drastically different salary system, where game winners get paid more than losers do.
Stay tuned for more information about the XFL, which is set to kick off (figuratively and possibly literally) in January 2020. To see what new and returning shows will appear in primetime long before then, head to our midseason premiere schedule.