By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Vince McMahon is scheduled to make a “major sports” announcement at 2CT/3ET. The following are live updates on the announcement. Refresh the page for the latest updates.
-A video opened the presentation and concluded with “This is the XFL.”
-Vince McMahon appeared at a podium and announced that the new XFL will begin in 2020. He said he knows people have a lot of questions for him, but he also has a lot of questions. He said they will listen to players, coaches, medical experts, media members, and fans.
-“What would you do if you could reimagine the game of professional football?” McMahon asked. He said the game will have more of the things you like to see and less of what you don’t. He said it will be a shorter, faster-paced, family friendly, and easier to understand game. He said they have two years to get it right.
-Vince said there will be eight teams with 40-man rosters, a ten game regular season, and a four-team postseason including a championship game.
-When it comes to XFL players, Vince said the quality of the human being will be as important as the player. He said the XFL will be on television, big screens, mobile, and everything in between. Vince encouraged fans to send in ideas “because we are listening.” Vince opened it up for questions.
-Brian Fritz of Sporting News asked why bring the XFL back now. “Football is America’s favorite sport,” Vince said. He noted that there were seven months without football and there are 70 million fans. “So why not bring it back now?” Vince asked. “I’ve always wanted to bring it back.
-Vince was asked what lessons he learned the first time. Vince said the quality of the play. He said they had a short time to get it right last time, whereas they have two years to prepare.
-A caller asked about his media plans. Vince said it’s important to consider the standard way of doing things and also new ways. He said it will probably be a combination. Vince said they have no had any talks with anyone yet.
-Vince was asked how the league will affect his role as head of creative. “It won’t affect it at all.” Vince said he will continue to be the Chairman of the Board and CEO of WWE.
-Vince said there will be no crossover from WWE to the new XFL.
-Darren Rovell asked how visible he will be in the XFL. Vince said this may be the last you see of him being out front. He said there will be experienced executives who will be out front.
-Vince was asked if the controversy involving players taking a knee and the NFL ratings decline had anything to do with his decision to relaunch. Vince said it did not.
-Vince was asked why it’s not a WWE project. Vince said $100 million was a little rich for WWE.
-A caller asked about the timing of the league starting and whether it would be another spring league. Vince said it will start at the end of January or early February and would not be a spring league.
-A caller asked if there will be franchise owners or if the teams will be owned by the league. Vince said it will be a single entity. He said they are “way away” from announcing cities that will host teams.
-A caller asked about the research done with WWE Network and now the XFL. Vince emphasized that they are two separate entities. He said they’ve done a lot of research, but he did not specify.
-Vince was asked about concussion concerns. Vince said it will be as safe as possible while still being football. He didn’t have any specifics, but he said they will bring in medical experts.
-The next caller asked whether Donald Trump would support the league in any way and whether San Diego is a potential market. Vince said he had no idea if Trump would support it. He said it would have nothing to do with politics or social issues. “We’re there to play football,” he said. He said fans want good football and that’s what they will deliver. He said they don’t know yet when it comes to San Diego as a host city.
-A caller asked about the over saturation of football with pro, college, and even the arena league. Vince said this will be a better football game than what people are accustomed to and once again cited the long offseason.
-The next caller asked how they will keep politics out of the game and whether there will be free speech. Vince said there will be rules and players will be made aware of them. Vince said the national anthem is a time honored tradition. “Whatever our rules are is what everyone will abide by,” McMahon said. He said you can express yourself in a variety of ways including through social media, but when the players take the field they are there to play football.
-Vince was asked whether they will be looking for cities that don’t have NFL franchises. Vince was non-committal about host cities. The next caller asked if they will seek out markets that already have top notch facilities. Vince said they could even use baseball stadiums in markets where a football stadium is not an option.
-When a caller asked if Pittsburgh is on their radar, Vince responded that “every city is on our radar.”
-A caller asked about safety while also wanting a faster game. Vince mentioned that they hope to have two-hour games.
-Vince was asked whether the ESPN documentary had anything to do with him bringing back the XFL. Vince praised the director Charlie Ebersol and the documentary, and his relationship with Dick Ebersol, but he said he’s always wanted to bring it back.
-Vince said they did consider going with another name for the league, but he thinks the XFL is a cool name.
-A caller asked about the XFL going international. Vince said it’s a possibility and said the broadcasts would exist in a global friendly environment.
-Vince was asked if players will be allowed to use nicknames on their jerseys again. Vince said he wasn’t sure yet, but he thought it was amazing that fans remember Rod “He Hate Me” Smart. He said they haven’t decided and will listen to experts.
-Vince was asked if standing for the anthem will be required. Vince said he feels it would be appropriate to do that.
-A caller asked about broadcast teams and whether there was a specific network in mind. Vince said that’s all to be determined. He said he believes there’s interest from traditional networks and also spoke about other options.
-The caller asked if there will be returning team names. Vince said he thinks the teams would be completely new, but left the door open.
-A caller brought up Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick. Vince brought up the quality of the human being. He doesn’t want anyone with a criminal background and said players with DUIs will not be allowed. “If Tim Tebow wants to play, he could very well play.”
-The next caller brought up Kaepernick. Vince said anyone who plays well and meets their criteria and if they play by the rules they lay out. The caller brought up standing for the anthem. Vince said the players will know the rules before they sign on for the XFL.
-The next caller brought up the possibility of wrestling crossovers on the broadcast teams. “No, there will be no crossovers whatsoever,’ McMahon said.
-The final caller said the XFL is Vince McMahon and raved about his promoting skills. He asked what drives him to get back in the game. Vince said he will hire professionals who know what they are doing and he will take a backseat. Vince stressed again that he will not be out front.
-The caller asked if Vince sought Linda McMahon’s opinion on relaunching the league. “No,” he said firmly.
-Vince was asked about on-field differences between the NFL and XFL. Vince said there will be differences and his goal is to give the fans what they want.
-Vince closed the press conference by saying there will be more questions and they will be asking questions of their own and listening to everyone.
Powell’s POV: Vince’s goal seemed to be as friendly as possible to the media members while also emphasizing that he wants to listen to them and the fans. It’s a wise approach to take given that a lot of us still remember his angry appearance with Bob Costas on HBO. It’s also encouraging to hear that he doesn’t intend to put himself out there front and center and that he doesn’t intend for there to be any WWE crossover. Keep in mind that a lot of things were said when the XFL launched the first time around that changed quickly. Vince handled himself well. The issue for this football fan is that I don’t have a desire to see second rate players or a gimmicky product. Obviously, I will give the league a chance, but I can’t say that I’m optimistic that it’s going to be successful this time around.
Today’s Dot Net Weekly audio show will feature Jason Powell and Jake Barnett discussing Vince McMahon’s announcement. For membership information, visit Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.
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