Vince McMahon is going all in with his plans for the new XFL.
The WWE chairman is showing his commitment to relaunching the WWE-fied NFL alternative league by preparing to throw $500 million of his own money in to fund the first three seasons of its return, a person with knowledge of the decision tells TheWrap.
As TheWrap previously reported, McMahon began backing the league by selling approximately $100 million in WWE stock last December and moving it into Alpha Entertainment, his wholly-owned subsidiary. However, that didn’t turn out to be anywhere close to what they are going to need to make this thing happen.
“People were focused on the $100 million, but the truth is that doesn’t even get us to the 20-yard line,” league CEO and commissioner Oliver Luck told ESPN Friday.
Luck — who just accepted his new role at the beginning of the month — said the biggest cost for the league will be players’ and coaches’ salaries, with TheWrap confirming the average paycheck for the XFL’s planned 40-man rosters is set around $75,000. (For frame of reference, the original XFL players got an average of $45,000 for 10-week’s of game time.)
The insurance to cover injuries also accounts for that large dent McMahon is planning to put in his pocket, with the XFL’s premiums coming to over $10 million a year, an individual with knowledge of the pricey policy tells TheWrap.
“I’ve been at all levels of football, and the importance of a broad-based insurance program cannot be understated,” Luck told ESPN. The new commissioner noted that one of the first things McMahon did after announcing the league’s return was secure that policy, adding: “There are very few participants who underwrite for this market anymore and it is obviously costly.”
Remember the XFL? That was the league that folded after just one season and lost tons of money for both Vince’s WWE and partner NBC. So… let’s do that again?
McMahon sold 3.34 million shares of company stock last December in a fundraising effort to revive the XFL and Alpha quickly got busy filing patents that same month — attorneys there even did some back in 2016.
The XFL is scheduled to kick off in February 2020.