Do You Smell It

    • The new ownership group purchased the league in August for $15 million.
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With news the XFL will return in spring 2022, there are several questions. Chief among them: Who’s taking the media rights?

During bankruptcy proceedings, the league had pitched a 2021 “made-for-TV” season, but the new plan doesn’t seem to follow that line of thinking. Ratings for the 2020 iteration of the XFL started out well, but Week 5 viewership was 63% below Week 1, with an average of 1.16 million viewers.

After an ownership group including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia bought the XFL in August, Fox Sports signaled it was still interested in broadcasting the league. ESPN was wary of a new owner not named Vince McMahon, but indicated it could be open to continuing its partnership.

XFL Timeline:

2001: McMahon — who also founded the WWE — launched the XFL, which fizzled out after one season.

2018-20: McMahon poured $200 million into the relaunch effort.

February 2020: XFL 2.0 kicked off.

March 2020: Season called off because of COVID-19, employees laid off less than a month later.

April 2020: The XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

August 2020: Johnson and business partner Dany Garcia, along with RedBird Capital, purchased the league for $15 million.