Last week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required) mentioned the new XFL would be announcing broadcast plans for their 2020 launch season in the next few weeks.
The Observer’s free site yesterday pointed us to another story behind a paywall, this one from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, which has some word on what those broadcast plans might be. And coming off blockbuster deals with Fox and NBCUniversal for his WWE shows, the partners he’s allegedly got on the hook for his football reboot sound just as impressive.
Per Ourand’s reporting, the XFL is “deep” in discussions with Fox and Disney-owned ESPN which would put two-thirds of the league’s schedule on broadcast networks Fox & ABC and cable outlets FS1 & ESPN. The streaming service ESPN+ isn’t currently a part of negotiations. Announcements about the deals could be made as soon as next week.
As the SBJ article’s headline (“Networks seek leagues’ content”) points out, like the contracts WWE landed for Raw and SmackDown, this again reinforces the value of live programming to media outlets. The main rival to McMahon’s XFL, the American Alliance of Football (AAF), is said to be in negotiations to put some of its games on the NFL Network in addition to their already announced deal with CBS. The AAF starts play in just a few weeks, after the 2019 Super Bowl.
That also means the NFL could be allying with Vince’s competitor in football shortly after the owner of a NFL franchise launched a wrestling company.
Unrelated, surely. But interesting times.
Who’s ready for lots more year round football on their screens?