XFL Making Another Return in 2022 Under New Ownership

Amanda Lauschus
Sports Business Writer

Vince McMahon, known for his work with the WWE, will not be involved with the XFL when it returns in 2022 (Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports)

If you are a sports fan, you know how big of a challenge it has been over the years for Vince McMahon to build the XFL into a popular, successful football league in America. The journey began in 2001 when McMahon, professional wrestling announcer and executive, created the XFL. The league was supposed to be almost a crossover between wrestling and football with fewer regulations and more aggression than in the NFL. However, it faced major criticism and backlash after only a single season and was taken off the air in the same year. The “high-octane” action the league produced also produced injuries and a game of football that fans were not accustomed to, leading to the demise of the league. McMahon continued his efforts and recreated the league in 2020 – only to be short lived once again, as the league shut down operations 5 weeks into the season because of the global pandemic.

The struggle does not end there, because just one month after postponing games indefinitely, they ceased operations and laid off almost all of their employees. Then the league declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly thereafter, with over 1,000 creditors and $50 million in liabilities. This bankruptcy resulted in millions of dollars in unpaid contracts, and then a lawsuit against McMahon, from XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, father of former NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, for wrongful termination. It was a quick and sad turn around for the league, which had been seeing success with their social media and fan interaction-infused business plan. When the shutdown occurred, the league even saw some players sign contracts in the NFL, a sign of the positive on-field product in the XFL.

The XFL may have finally had some good luck this past August when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson agreed to buy the league for $15 million. Even more great news has come to light with the announcement from “The Rock” that the league will begin operations for an “electrifying 2022 season,” as he wrote in a statement on social media. By waiting until 2022, the league could be successful due to a possible coronavirus vaccine and keep players, staff, and fans safe. While it has been difficult due to such a short season in March to determine the ratings, hopefully “The Rock” can increase interest in this developing football league. With his huge following and popularity across American pop culture, he may be able to give this league the boost they need to become watch-worthy for sports fans. We are yet to see if American football fans are interested in spring football but hopefully if all goes according to plan, we will see this league in full force in 2022.


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