XFL announces multi-year agreement with ESPN beginning in 2023

By Kevin Kelley -

The XFL and ESPN have reached an exclusive, multi-year media rights agreement, the league and ESPN announced on Tuesday.

Under the agreement, every XFL regular-season and playoff game will be broadcast on an ESPN/TWDC platform (i.e. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, ABC, FX, etc.).

The XFL was revamped in 2020 by Vince McMahon, but ceased operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league filed for bankruptcy and was later purchased by Dany Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners.

“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”

The third edition of the XFL is expected to launch on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. The season will feature 40 regular-season matchups, two semifinal playoff games, and the championship.

“Without question, we have long admired Disney’s distinct ability to engage an expansive consumer fanbase across verticals, while also maintaining a deeply-authentic, nuanced and heartfelt approach to storytelling much like our own,” said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman of the XFL. “To find a partner that honors our foundation and to be able to root our vision of unwavering passion, accessibility and the future of football with Disney as our home, is a dream come true. We are extraordinarily excited to explore the endless possibilities of this partnership – today is surely just the beginning.”

“This is a definitive moment for the XFL and the beginning of an incredible, long-term partnership for the league, building on my longstanding, very successful legacy relationship I’ve had with Disney throughout my career,” said Dwayne Johnson. “We’re excited to be working with global visionaries that are aligned with the XFL’s values, are true team players and share our ambitious goals to grow the XFL as a global sports and entertainment business. Through the combined power of Disney and the XFL, together we will create a new powerhouse on the sports calendar and bring a dynamic game of football to fans everywhere. Time to ball out.”

Comments (2)

It could have made sense to replace Fox as a broadcast partner with CBS Sports, but with the broadcast portion going to The CW to start building that network into a legitimate contender, and Paramount Network airing the cable portion.

I hope “The Rock” gives a speech before a game like he did with the original XFL. “If ya smell what the X-F-L is cooking!”