WWE’s Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon already has an opponent in drawing away NFL’s football fans as early as now and it comes from a surprising name: Charlie Ebersol. As we all know, Charlie’s father and longtime NBC Executive Dick Ebersol help Vince launch the original XFL 17 years ago. It is worth noting that Charlie Ebersol directed the recent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the original XFL that failed. Just recently, Charlie Ebersol announced the formation of the Alliance of American Football.
After The NFL had conflicts and issues that gained media attention, ratings for the league fell by 17 percent. On this note, McMahon announced this past January that he would revive the XFL (backed by $100 million in stock he sold). He also emphasized that the new XFL will have a more family-friendly stance than the previous XFL, downplaying the sexy cheerleaders and violence of the original league and adhering more to the current PG-era of the WWE. He also stressed the nonpolitical actions during games and employing players without criminal backgrounds.
Ebersol’s announcement of his Alliance for American Football league means that McMahon’s plan for reviving the XFL might perhaps be too late. Vince McMahon aims to relaunch the XFL in early 2020, whereas his rival has scheduled his launch for February 9, 2019 on CBS, soon after the next Super Bowl.
Ebersol’s father and Vince’s former partner Dick Ebersol will be part of the board of directors that will also feature former NFL stars Hines Ward, Justin Tuck, and Jared Allen. The stated goals are similar to McMahon’s reboot of the XFL, such as shorter games and utilizing top-level talent from college football who don’t make it into the NFL. In addition, Ebersol wants games to be affordable, with good seats available at $35.
“I wanted to build a team of people who were significantly more accomplished and smarter than I was and let them build what they thought the future of the sport was going to be,” Ebersol said in a press announcement.
Ebersol emphasized that The AAF is in it for the long haul.
“We’re not looking for out-of-box, rocket-ship success,” he said. “The XFL, USFL as a live event were successful businesses, but expectations were so high. We want to manage expectations, because we’re built for a long-term model.”