Vince McMahon's XFL Taps Sports' Big Guns to Help New Football League
(Bloomberg) -- Vince McMahon’s XFL, the spring football league scheduled to begin play next year, is enlisting some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment for help with ticket sales and business operations.
Elevate Sports Ventures, backed by the owners of NBA, NFL and NHL teams, will lead the day-to-day ticket sales effort for the XFL’s eight teams, and bolster the business operations of the league under a two-year deal announced Wednesday.
The tie-up comes about a month after another spring football league, the Alliance of American Football, ceased operations -- and later filed for bankruptcy -- prior to completing its inaugural season. The parent company of the eight-team league started by TV producer Charlie Ebersol and longtime National Football League executive Bill Polian listed liabilities of $48.4 million and $11.4 million in assets in its Chapter 7 petition.
Elevate’s backers include Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils; the San Francisco 49ers; and Creative Artists Agency. Live Nation, Ticketmaster and Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group are also involved.
The goal of the affiliation with Elevate is to bring the football league to market as efficiently as possible, the XFL said. As part of strategy, Elevate will create a team- and business-operations group for the XFL’s league office, similar to what’s used by the NBA. Elevate will hire more than 75 executives in a variety of roles, including senior positions.
The venture is McMahon’s second attempt at football. The original XFL, backed by his World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and NBC, folded after one season in 2001. McMahon, the flamboyant chairman and founder of WWE, is funding the league personally.
Al Guido, Elevate’s chief executive officer and president of the NFL’s 49ers, said the XFL’s leadership is “reimagining what a season ticket member is and what access and engagement they can have. It’s challenging, and it’s inspiring. It’s exactly the type of place that Elevate wants to be.”
Unlike the AAF, which put its most of its teams in non-NFL cities, the XFL has chosen to locate almost all of its franchises where NFL teams exist.
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