As we previously reported, the XFL announced today that they have reached multiyear agreements with ESPN and Fox Sports to air their games in 2020. The games will air weekly on broadcast TV on ABC and Fox, along with games airing on cable on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. There will be back-to-back games every Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, along with two games on Sunday afternoons.
According to Sports Business Daily, there will be 43 games in the inaugural season. 24 of those will air on broadcast television, with 13 on ABC and 11 on FOX. Of the 11 games on FOX, two will air on Thursday in primetime in April of 2020.
Sports Illustrated reported that there will be no rights fees paid by ESPN and FOX. Sports Business Daily added that while the networks are not paying a rights fee, they will pick up production costs which are estimated to be $400,000 per game, which amounts to $17.2 million for the season.
Both networks will hold the streaming rights to games. They will cross-promote games during broadcasts and sell ads for the games. The XFL will handle sponsorships at the stadiums.
Despite the AAF not being able to last one season, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus is confident that the XFL will succeed.
"Spring football is going to work," said Magnus. "The combination of Vince McMahon, WWE, Fox and Disney is an incredible one to take a really hard run at this and see if that's not the combination that finally makes it work."
XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck agreed, and felt that one of the factors that hurt the AAF was that they were not on broadcast cable every week.
"The only game that the Alliance had on broadcast was their opening game on CBS. One of the lessons we took away was that they had a pretty good rating," said Luck. "It shows that Americans still want to watch football the week after the Super Bowl."
The XFL will re-launch on Saturday, February 8, 2020, six days after Super Bowl LIV. Two games will air that day, with the first one being on ABC and the night game airing on FOX.