ABC isn’t waiting for NFL TV rights to become available again to return to airing pro football.
The XFL has cut a media rights deal with Disney and Fox for its inaugural season, which will have its games air across ESPN, ABC, Fox and Fox Sports 1. The XFL will kick off on Feb. 8 and 9, 2020, the weekend following Super Bowl LIV in South Florida. The rebooted XFL will air two games apiece on Saturday and Sunday, with its championship scheduled for April 26 on ESPN.
“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and Fox Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” Vince McMahon, XFL founder & chairman, said. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”
The deal gives both Fox and ESPN even more pro football and something to fill the weekend schedule during the NFL’s long offseason, while it gives ABC pro football for the first time since it lost “Monday Night Football” after the 2005 season. ABC is said to be eyeing a return to the NFL when its current rights deals come up in the new few years.
The new XFL will feature eight teams will from the following cities, with the venues in parenthesis: New York (MetLife Stadium), Dallas (Globe Life Park in Arlington), Houston (TDECU Stadium), Los Angeles (StubHub Center), St. Louis (Dome at America’s Center), Seattle (CenturyLink Field), Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium) and Washington, D.C. (Audi Field).
In 2001, the original XFL aired mostly on NBC, with other games on TNN and UPN.