The coronavirus pandemic has affected another sports entity as the XFL announced in a Friday internal conference call that they are suspending operations and all employees have been laid off.
It’s unclear if the suspension means the fledgling football organization is done forever, but given the uncertainty of the economy in the wake of the global health crisis, that is a strong possibility with an ESPN report saying the league has no plans to return next season.
Less than a month ago, Vince McMahon’s second go-round at a football league suspended the rest of their season as did all other active and between season sports leagues. Over the past two-plus years, the WWE chairman had sold nearly $300 million in stock in order to fund the league through Alpha Entertainment, a separate LLC.
The league debuted on a variety of networks this spring (ESPN, ABC, Fox, FS1) to good ratings that dwindled over the weeks, but still remained strong. The goal was to eventually secure a traditional rights deal for guaranteed money, but with teams only managing to play just five games on their schedule, it never had the opportunity to fully realize its first season since the first iteration launched in 2001.
Our Dave Meltzer speculated on Twitter that the WWE’s recent stock price drops contributed to the decision in addition to the economy and the league’s ability to get a TV deal due to those economic uncertainties.