XFL lands on FOX and ABC

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The XFL is the latest spring football phoenix, rising from the ashes of the AAF. The ascension (or not) of Vince McMahon’s mulligan will be televised on a pair of networks.

FOX, ABC, FS1, and ESPN will televise the games of the reconstituted XFL, the league announced on Monday.

According to John Ourand of SportsBusiness Daily, the deals will result in no rights fee to the XFL, which is still better than paying for air time (which the AAF did, or at least was supposed to do). The networks will pay for the production costs of the XFL’s games, which per Ourand can amount to roughly $400,000 per game.

Of the 43 games to be played next year (40 regular season, three postseason), 24 will be televised on three-letter broadcast networks. The regular-season games will be played on Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of two late-season Thursday night games on FOX, which also televises Thursday night games for the NFL.

The playoffs will be televised by FOX and ESPN on the weekend of April 19, and ESPN will televise the championship on Sunday, April 26 — one day after the NFL draft concludes.

“Spring football is going to work,” ESPN Executive VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus told Ourand. It’s unclear whether the intended punctuation mark would be a period or an exclamation point. In all fairness, the best way to end that sentence would be with a question mark.

Spring football has never worked. People simply aren’t naturally interested in spring football. Until they are, it’s going to be a challenge to make it survive until it can thrive.

At some point, maybe someone with a billion or so to burn will drop an alternate pro league on Tuesday and Wednesday night during football season, giving the people what they want during the time of the year that they want it — and with college-age players not yet eligible to enter the NFL draft. Until then, spring football leagues may come and go.

The XFL is coming back in less than a year. Whether it goes away after only one season (like it did in 2001) remains to be seen.

19 responses to “XFL lands on FOX and ABC

  1. Tuesday and Wednesday is a horrible idea. No one has interest in watching football every day of the week even during the season

  2. Spring football will work if they are willing to lose money the first 2 years. They need a few years to gain traction. Cant give up after a few months smh..

  3. In a roundabout relation – AAF initial investor Reggie Fowler never had the money to give them. You could have just read the Wikipedia entry on him as your research, and say he wasn’t the answer. But guess AAF was desperate.

    McMahon clearly has the money. He’s got good deal so far on TV (not paying for time, network pays production). Just a matter of putting out a good product. And drawing fans/$.

  4. I’ll check it out. Who knows, it might be fun. I actually kinda liked the AAF. The XFL might actually last more than 3 weeks without that moron Charlie Ebersol running things. Vince is no dummy.

  5. Spring football has never worked. People simply aren’t naturally interested in spring football.


    This isn’t accurate. Move the NFL to the spring and people will be interested.

    These leagues aren’t failing because they play football in the spring. They’re failing because they’re poorly planned. They don’t have enough money to make it through a single season. They don’t have enough money to get recognizable players. And they insist on being a developmental league for the NFL even though the NFL has never shown any interest in having a developmental league (other than the NCAA.

  6. How many times do viewers have to scream that WE DO NOT WANT ANOTHER FOOTBALL LEAGUE!!!

    It’s always a horrible product…

  7. Look for the XFL’s biggest audiences to tune in via streaming. Ergo, I’d also expect them to lock in deals with Amazon, and or leverage their WWE network in some way to stream the games online.

    I don’t have ESPN. So already, I’d miss the XFL Super Bowl. Not happy about that, and it hasn’t even started. So I’m hoping for a streaming solution as well.

  8. It’s in the league’s best interest to invest in a development league for players. The NCAA is NOT the answer as there’s a time limit for eligibility. The AAF was poorly run and the main investor was a fraud.

    As long as the XFL has low expectations and doesn’t expect to make money the first year or so of a brand new league, they’ll be fine.

  9. XFL….AAFL….WFL…USFL….AS long as we have some SPRINGtime football I don’t care what league makes it. I really enjoyed the USFL, it gave sports fans something enetertaining to watch in the dead of winter. (Feb, March, April..and the beginning of May) PERFECT TIME SLOT for football after the NFL.

  10. Wrong Mike.The USFL worked tremendously in the spring. They blew it trying to move to the fall. They had players, huge crowds and frankly it was awesome.

  11. Spring football can definitely work but you’ve gotta have players to root for and an interesting product. If they can find a few stars and hold onto them for a couple years it can work.

  12. Only way another league will ever work, is if they accept and pay players straight out of highschool or after 1 year of college. If a player is big and good enough for the pros, no need for him to wait to make money. Some players need the money to take care of their families and can barely wait a day, let alone years, to get their families out of dangerous situations.

  13. I like the idea of spring football and would definitely watch it. I think football fans would enjoy having something as opposed to nothing for months.

  14. The schedule works out perfectly. Two games a week on ABC and Fox. The majority of the games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Cross promotion on all 4 networks, Fox, ABC, ESPN and FS1. The big key with any of these upstart leagues is exposure and attention. The XFL just got that.

  15. one thing is for sure the XFL has more money up front than the AAF ever did. That will get them through season one for sure.

    Will they even get a season 2 though??

  16. I wish the AAF would have played more on network TV. I love the product and would have watch more games if I could have. The XFL will play more games on station I can receive. But, I won’t watch the XFL at all.

  17. It’s hard to watch a game where the level of talent drops off significantly. Tried watching but the talent level never passed the eye test!! Was like watching a bad college game.

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