The world of Disney Sports is about to get X-treme with a new partnership that perhaps nobody was expecting. Disney/ESPN has officially partnered with the XFL Football League, headed up by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia. The partnership will include exclusive broadcasting and streaming rights to all XFL games from 2023 – 2027.
We're making it official! We've formed a multi-year agreement w/ @WaltDisneyCo & @ESPN, who will have exclusive broadcast rights for all 2023–2027 game day content, tentpole events & more.— XFL (@XFL2023) May 17, 2022
Each season's 43 games will be aired & streamed across ABC, ESPN, and FX. #DisneyUpfront22
For those who aren’t in the know, the XFL was first founded in 2000 by WWF/WWE owner Vince McMahon and then NBC Sports head Dick Ebersol. The plan was to create a spring football league to offer an alternative to the NFL.
The league only lasted one season due to poor ratings/attendance. The downfall of the league was heavily documented in the 30 for 30 documentary This Was The XFL, directed by Dick Ebersol’s son Charlie.
Shortly after the documentary aired Charlie approached Vince about reviving the XFL. Vince agreed to revive the brand for and announced in 2018 that the league would return in 2020, investing $250 Million into the league.
However Vince decided not to include Charlie in on the new league. So he decided to start his own competing league, the Alliance of American Football or the AAF for short, and would launch his league in 2019.
That league however folded after 8 weeks due to multiple controversies involving funding and poor partnerships.
The XFL 2.0 lanced in 2020 and things started off well. But when the COVID-19 Global Pandemic reached the United States everything was shut down. The league never finished its first season back after 19 years.
In August of 2020 Vince McMahon sold the XFL to one of his former employees and friends, former Pro Wrestler turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for only $15 Million. Dwayne, and his business partner (and ex-wife), Dany Garcia, wanted to keep the XFL name and legacy alive.
Now being called the XFL 3.0 by fans, the league has officially partnered with Disney and ESPN for exclusive broadcasting and streaming on ABC, ESPN, ESPN+ and FX.
The league is set to kickoff Saturday, Feb. 18th, one week after Super Bowl LVII. Some of the teams from the XFL 2.0 will remain while others will be either re-located or re-named entirely.
But facing competition not only from the NFL, but also the recently revived USFL airing on FOX and NBC, will this version of the XFL be able to stick around longer than its previous two iterations? Will there be too much football for Americans to handle?
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