Vince McMahon had promised that the XFL would be much better as a reboot than was the first time around, and now folks are learning just how much he believes that. The WWE boss will reportedly be putting up a ton of his own money to fund the venture, in a show of faith that some may think is financially insane, considering the franchise's troubled past. McMahon is allegedly prepared to throw down around $500 million to keep the XFL afloat in its first three seasons, hoping the revamped league will take off in its second outing.
$500 million sounds like an extravagant amount of money to most non-billionaires, and probably also isn't chump change to a lot of billionaires. The cost is a necessary expense, however, as the XFL will need a bulk of that money to pay salaries to eight teams of 40 players each, along with the coaches and staffs. The Wrap reported another chunk of McMahon's money will go towards insurance used to cover player injuries, which will reportedly run a $10 million premium for the XFL yearly.
The league's upstart costs are why Vince McMahon sold $100 million of his WWE stock last December, and why he might just sell more before the XFL's official comeback in 2020. The XFL needs McMahon's money and more to even stand a chance at competing with the NFL, which many have assumed will be an uphill battle. The XFL's average seasonal salary will reportedly be $75,000, which is dwarfed by the NFL's minimum yearly salary, which at the present is over six times higher than the XFL. That gap could eventually get closed, should the XFL gain massive ratings over time, which all involved are obviously hoping for.
To further appeal to sports fans, Vince McMahon claimed they were keeping the televised games limited to two hours, which usually helps keep viewers invested. As well, the XFL will not be accepting athletes with a criminal background, to counter some of the off-the-field issues that have plagued some NFL athletes over the years. In short, McMahon likely knows he's taking a big risk putting so much money into this, but if viewers show up the way he's assuming they will, it will inevitably pay off for him at some point.
The XFL certainly didn't pay off for Vince McMahon the first time, as NBC and the WWE's joint venture only lasted one season in 2001. Initial ratings for the league looked strong, but viewership quickly dwindled in the weeks that followed, and NBC and the WWE each lost $35 million on the league for their $100 million investment. McMahon is primed to lose a lot more if reports about his investment committal are true, although there's always that chance he could defy the odds and geniusly turn the XFL into America's next big TV pastime.
As mentioned, the XFL is set to make its return February 2020, presumably sometime after the NFL's Super Bowl LIII. Those waiting to see the league make a comeback have quite a time to wait, but thankfully there's no shortage of great television to watch in the meantime. Visit our summer premiere guide to see what all is coming to television and where to watch it.