XFL Shuts Down, Likely Won’t Return in 2021
This may be the end for good of WWE chairman Vince McMahon’s spring football league.
Per a conference call led by CEO Jeffrey Pollack, the XFL shut down and laid off most of its staff, except for a handful of executives, ESPN reports. The current season was canceled after five games, just as other sports and entertainment events were also shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, unlike those other sports leagues, it doesn’t look like the XFL will be back in 2021.
This wasn’t the first time McMahon tried to break out in football; his league in 2001 only lasted one year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that XFL suffered from poor TV ratings and quality of play.
Fox Sports and ABC/ESPN shared rights for the XFL. Viewers were treated to something different: coach-player and referee-replay judges communications. “For us to [be able to] eavesdrop on officials is groundbreaking stuff,” ABC/ESPN coordinating producer Bill Bonnell told TV Insider.
The XFL did get off to a decent start, ratings-wise, and commentator Curt Menefee suggested people tuned in to check out the “buzz” and because of how easy it was to find the games.
“You know when you come home on a Saturday afternoon, depending on what time it is, there is a game on ABC or FOX,” he said at the time. “You don’t have to search around.”