WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon is teasing a major announcement to be made at 3 p.m. this afternoon. ESPN’s Darren Rovell is reporting that it will be the announcement of a new pro football league.
Speculation that McMahon was working to bring back the ill-fated XFL in some shape or form has been building in recent weeks. Forbes says this new league will launch in 2020. McMahon just filed for five trademarks related to the XFL.
TBL’s Ryan Glasspiegel and FS1’s Sharief Ali broke down the challenges and opportunity that could potentially lie ahead for McMahon’s new project.
Going head-to-head against the NFL is a daunting proposition. There are a few things, however, that could be explored to make an immediate impact.
First, the new league could open its rosters up to players who aren’t yet three years removed from high school, attracting college stars who have built up a brand name but cannot get paid yet for their services or likeness. It could eschew competing with NFL on veterans, but instead focus on young stars, the fringe first-rounders who are currently underpaid under the NFL’s current rookie wage salary structure for the first half of their careers. (The final pick of the first round currently gets $5 million bonus and $9.5 million over 4 years, and doesn’t hit full free agency until year 6). It could go full pirate ship/rebel and court players like Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick. It could embrace exciting players with name value like Lamar Jackson who the NFL dismisses.
Lastly, and perhaps cynically, McMahon could focus on branding his project as an American-first, patriotism-mandatory entity for those disillusioned with the protests that have permeated the NFL in recent years.