Vince McMahon's XFL Secures TV Deals With Fox Sports, ESPN

(Bloomberg) -- The XFL, the professional football league that Vince McMahon is launching next year, has secured multiyear television deals with Fox Corp.’s Fox Sports and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN that will see more than half of the games in its inaugural season air on broadcast TV.

In addition to weekly games on the Fox broadcast network and Disney-owned ABC, XFL games will be televised on the cable channels ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. With the exception of two Thursday games, weekends will consist of two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday.

Terms of the deal weren’t announced. The Sports Business Journal reported that the networks are not paying a rights free, but are picking up all production costs, which generally amount to $400,000 a game.

The XFL is McMahon’s second attempt at pro football. The original XFL, backed by his World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and NBC, folded in 2001 after just one season. McMahon, the flamboyant chairman and founder of WWE, is funding the league personally. It will launch with eight franchises, in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa, Florida, and Washington, D.C.

The inaugural season will kick off on Saturday, Feb. 8, on ABC, one week after the Super Bowl. The championship will be Sunday, April 26, on ESPN.

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