Sports

XFL Announces Big-Time TV Deal That Puts It Way Ahead of AAF

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The new XFL, which debuts in February 2020, is looking to learn from the mistakes of the failed Alliance of American Football, which suspended operations before it even completed one season.

One area where the spring league is going above and beyond the AAF is in its television contracts.

The XFL announced Monday it has multiyear agreements to televise games weekly on the broadcast networks ABC and Fox.

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Under its contracts with ESPN and Fox Sports, the eight-team league will air the rest of its games on the cable outlets ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2.

There will be back-to-back games Saturday afternoons starting at 2 p.m. Eastern. There will be two additional games Sunday afternoons.

The championship game will be televised on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET April 26, 2020.

“We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league’s inaugural season,” Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president, programming and scheduling, said in a statement.

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“Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry’s most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league,” Magnus said. “We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”

“We welcome the XFL to the Fox Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon,” Eric Shanks, Fox Sports CEO and executive producer, said. “Football is in Fox Sports’ DNA and a key component of our programming strategy. Alongside Oliver Luck and his incredible team, we’re excited for the debut of the XFL on Fox Sports.”

The XFL will launch Feb. 8, 2020, with teams based in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Washington, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa, Florida.

Not only will the XFL have exposure every week on major networks, but the partnership with ESPN and Fox Sports also ensures that their various radio and TV talk shows will be focused on the league.

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“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and Fox Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” McMahon, XFL founder and chairman, said in a statement.

“The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend,” he added.

The AAF, which suspended operations on April 2 before even finishing its inaugural season, had TV contracts with CBS, TNT, Bleacher Report Live and the NFL Network.

Vince McMahon knows as well as anyone how hard it is to launch a rival football league, having tried it unsuccessfully in 2001. But with the benefit of learning from that attempt as well as watching what the AAF did wrong, one would expect he is better positioned this time around.

And he’s off to a good start with this TV deal.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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