The XFL is Dead Again

Published on April 13, 2020

Yet again, the XFL is dead. Owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and controlled by WWE and NBC, the football league had to suspend its season due to the coronavirus. Now, it’s officially over after no more than a few short weeks of gameplay. 

The History of the XFL

Talk about history repeating itself. The XFL originally started in 2001, but it only lasted one season. It developed a bit of a cult following in the years that followed. Every hardcore football fan remembered and probably enjoyed the XFL, which was a good idea in theory: to provide football yearround. 

It was a good enough idea that McMahon wanted to give the football league another shot, at the cost of $500 million. Nine teams were started around the country, but due to the coronavirus, the remainder of their seasons were cancelled. Only a few XFL players can count themselves lucky since they grabbed the attention of NFL teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers, for example, have already signed three players from the XFL. 


More bad news started to roll in last Friday. According to ESPN, it was the day the league suspended operations. Almost the entire staff was laid off, with the exception of a couple of executives… As a result, there are no plans for the XFL to return in 2021. In a statement, the WWE said: 

“Given the uncertainty of the current environment, the XFL has suspended operations and is evaluating next steps.”

The 2020 Season

Only five games were played in total this season. The season came to a halt due to the nationwide shutdown. Originally, the XFL promised they’d returned next year, but that’s not happening now. Unless the XFL magically comes back to life in the future, it’s over. As for the players, they were promised pay for the remainder of the season. The XFL is now the first major professional sports league to completely go out of business due to the coronavirus. 

Worse News

The XFL has officially declared bankruptcy only three days after cancelling the league. Today, the league filed for Chapter 11. Personally, McMahon owned most of the league. The polarizing sports figure owned 76.5% of the XFL’s Class B stock, the entirety of its Class A stock, and McMahon’s WWE had 23.5 percent in Class B stock. 

The XFL is going to lose tens of millions of dollars after having to cancel the season and the playoffs. It’s particularly disastrous considering McMahon had such high hopes and plans for the league. Over the next three years, he intended on investing $500 million and dreamed of landing a big-time TV deal. No major TV contracts were secured, though, and COVID-19 made that practically impossible.

Right now, McMahon still has the WWE to keep his pockets nice and full. He hasn’t canceled live shows, although they go on without a live audience. It remains a divisive decision, but fans are still tuning to watch their beloved wrestling. 

A Statement from the XFL

Honestly, it’s a shame the the league didn’t make its big comeback this year. How great would it be to have football year round? It’s no NFL, no, but the XFL is never trying to be anyway. 

In a statement, reps from the XFL explained their current situation and thanked their staffs, fans, and players: 

“The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football.  Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis.  Accordingly, we have filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This is a heartbreaking time for many, including our passionate fans, players and staff, and we are thankful to them, our television partners, and the many Americans who rallied to the XFL for the love of football.”

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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