November 5, 2019
The Xtreme Football League (XFL), established in 2001 for one season only by WWE founder Vince McMahon, is slated to return with a 10-game regular season Feb. 8, 2020, on ABC and Fox.
Disney-owned ESPN announced it would stream the entire XFL season on its ESPN Player, the standalone service only available outside the United States.
The eight-team league is divided into two four-team divisions (East and West). The XFL East features the DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St. Louis Battle Hawks and Tampa Bay Vipers. The Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats and Seattle Dragons comprise the XFL West.
While the league will likely field NFL rejects and wannabes, former marquee players such as ex-Super Bowl QB Colin Kaepernick have reportedly met with the league.
McMahon has made it clear players in the XFL would not be permitted to kneel during the national anthem, the protest act that contributed to Kaepernick being blacklisted from the NFL.
“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” McMahon said in a press interview last year. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.”
Both Kaepernick and fellow protester Eric Reid — who repeatedly kneeled during playing of the anthem as protest regarding alleged police brutality toward African American men — settled their grievances against the NFL last year.
Notably, ESPN Player is also streaming “This Was the XFL,” ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary on the upstart league’s promising but short existence 18 years ago. The doc looks at how the league impacted how professional team sports are broadcast today.