You didn’t think Vince McMahon was really going to let the XFL go down the way it did, did you?
McMahon spent money, time, and energy reviving the XFL for a launch this year and got screwed when the pandemic hit, forcing the cancellation of the season halfway through. The XFL filed for bankruptcy, which may have drawn jeers from some corners, but as usual, McMahon knew what he was doing.
It seems that filing for bankruptcy was a strategic financial move. How do we know?
According to The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan, the XFL’s president has reached out to representatives in St. Louis and Seattle about reinstating the leases where the local teams played. Additionally, unsecured creditors said in a bankruptcy court filing that they believe McMahon is attempting to buy back the league and its assets at a low price.
McMahon reportedly is attempting to pay $3.5 million back to season ticket holders. Season ticket holders are regarded as unsecured creditors in terms of money given to the league, and would be low on the list to receive repayment in an ordinary bankruptcy behind other lenders. However, an attempt to refund season ticket holders seems like a gesture of goodwill from someone who might be intending to restart the league.
McMahon owns 80 percent of the league through Alpha Entertainment, and WWE owns 20 percent.
There was no way McMahon would put so much into the league and just give up. He is likely planning to revive it, but will probably need new players and coaches so that he doesn’t have to pay the ones who were owed money from the canceled 2020 season. Of course, McMahon still has the lawsuit with Oliver Luck he is fighting over guaranteed pay for the league’s former commissioner.
The legal battle between XFL owner Vince McMahon and former commissioner Oliver Luck shows no signs of slowing down.
McMahon’s attorneys responded to Luck’s wrongful termination lawsuit Wednesday by claiming that the former commissioner was fired for cause. Three examples were cited, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
The first was that Luck “abandoned his responsibilities” at the start of the coronavirus pandemic by leaving the XFL’s offices and not devoting his time to the league. McMahon also claims that Luck signed wide receiver Antonio Callaway and refused to release him when McMahon ordered it, as well as personal use of an XFL-issued iPhone.
The XFL closed up shop and filed for bankruptcy last week, and former commissioner Oliver Luck is suing for the millions of dollars that were left on his contract.
Luck filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in federal court last week against WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. According to Darren Rovell of Action Network, Luck’s contract was supposed to pay him between $20-25 million over five years and stipulated that he would be due the remaining balance if terminated without cause.
The XFL filed for bankruptcy on April 13, but Luck and other top executives were not included in the filing. Rovell reports that Luck’s lawsuit states that he was not listed as a creditor because McMahon’s company Alpha Entertainment filed to reject many executive contracts, and the bankruptcy approved that filing.
As sports attorney Darren Heitner explained, the situation is complicated because Luck’s contract was not with McMahon personally even if the WWE founder pledged his own money to the XFL.
“The to-be-expected motion to dismiss from McMahon and the response will be interesting from a legal perspective,” Heitner said. “Luck’s contract was not with McMahon personally. Will the court be convinced that McMahon’s pledge to provide his own money adds personal liability? Seems to be a stretch.”
Luck, who is the father of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, was the overseer of the NCAA’s Eligibility Center prior to taking a job with the XFL. The XFL initially suspended operations amid the coronavirus outbreak and pledged to return in 2021, but the league has since essentially waved the white flag.
While the new XFL gained attention for some of its unique rules, interest appeared to be waning prior to the coronavirus outbreak. It’s possible the league was going to go under even without the pandemic.
On the same day, American First Action announced $18.5 million in spending in the Tampa ($7.1 million) and Orlando ($11.3 million) markets. The spending will come in the form of advertising for the election from Labor Day through Election Day. The spending will help those communities because it goes to local businesses, therefore helping economies in Florida.
Does this surprise you? Probably not. It just goes to show how much money talks in the world and likely helps explain the decision by the state’s governor.
Vince McMahon is committed to not repeating his mistakes with the XFL in the professional football league’s second go-around, and the financial commitment he is making proves that more than anything.
Rumors first surfaced that the XFL was making a comeback when McMahon sold $100 million of his WWE stock. That’s a sizable amount of money in itself, but XFL CEO and commissioner Oliver Luck told ESPN’s Darren Rovell that it only represents a fraction of the investment McMahon plans to make.
“People were focused on the $100 million, but the truth is that doesn’t even get us to the 20-yard line,” Luck said.
That math apparently is not an exaggeration, as Rovell notes that McMahon has told insiders with the XFL that he expects to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million.
So where is all the money going? Player salaries will be a lot higher in the XFL’s second attempt at success, as Luck says the average will be around $75,000, with players in higher demand making much more. Back in 2001, the XFL paid players an average of about $45,000 for the 10-game season. Another costly expense will be an insurance policy to cover player injuries.
“I’ve been at all levels of football and the importance of a broad-based insurance program cannot be understated,” Luck said. “There are very few participants who underwrite for this market anymore and it is obviously costly.”
Luck said the insurance policy is expected to cost more than $10 million per season. What he did not mention is his own salary, which will reportedly be nothing to scoff at.
There’s no questioning that McMahon is a smart businessman, as his success with the WWE is the primary reason he has an estimated net worth of around $3 billion. Some think he’s crazy for not learning his lesson when the XFL failed the first time, but McMahon’s financial commitment is an indication of how determined he is.
Brock Lesnar defeated Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34 on Sunday night to retain the Universal Championship, which has left many wondering what that means for his expiring WWE contract. To add even more uncertainty to the situation, Lesnar reportedly got into a heated altercation with his boss after the event.
Ryan Satin of ProWreslingSheet.com reports that Lesnar and WWE CEO Vince McMahon got into a “real-life verbal altercation” following Lesnar’s match against Reigns. It’s unclear exactly what sparked the conflict, but speculation is that it may have had something to do with Lesnar going off-script.
Details are still scarce, but we’re told Lesnar was livid when he returned to the backstage gorilla position and went off on the WWE Chairman … who was not happy about it.
Sources tell us the brief, but heated incident ended with Brock throwing the Universal Title belt — some say at Vince, some say at a wall — then walking away. No word yet on what set him off.
We’re told there’s a belief that Brock may have gone off script a little bit near the end of the match, but we’ve been unable to confirm if this is true.
At one point during the match, Lesnar hit Reigns with some vicious elbows to the head. Reigns was left a bloody mess following the shots, though in typical WWE fashion it was difficult to get a feel for the authenticity, so to speak.
Vince McMahon announced on Thursday that he is bringing back the XFL, and he is planning to do things differently in his second stint as the owner of a professional football league.
Before he publicly unveiled his plans to bring back the league that was a highly-publicized failure in 2001, McMahon spoke with John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal about his new — and hopefully improved — vision. With the original XFL, McMahon tried to sell violence and controversy. This time, he tells SBJ he wants to take a more family friendly approach.
“We want to entertain — that’s what we do,” McMahon said. “There are not going to be any politics involved with this thing. We’re not going to have any social issues involved. People want to be entertained. … It’s the entertainment value that sometimes is lost.”
By that, McMahon means that he is planning to force players to stand for the national anthem. He also said he will not hire players who have arrest records, though that might be a challenge. The XFL will also have a new logo, which features the same colors as the American flag.
Vince McMahon talks about potential "No national anthem protest" rule in XFL…."Whatever our rules are, everyone will abide by….we're here to play football that's everyone's job" pic.twitter.com/G1hOpxtAoI
McMahon is hoping the biggest difference for the XFL 2.0 will be the product on the field, which is why he is holding off until 2020 for actual games.
“We’ve got time to draft good players and be able to put really good football on the field. That’s the biggest thing that’s going to be a difference.” he said, noting that the XFL will target players who just missed making it in the NFL. The difference between making it in the NFL and not is slight. You can’t measure heart and things of that nature. You’re going to have some great athletes.”
While few details have been released, McMahon said the XFL will consist of teams from eight markets that have not yet been determined. Rosters will be made up of 40 players, and there will be a 10-week regular season after the Super Bowl followed by a postseason featuring two semifinal games and a championship. McMahon also spoke of plans to have different rules from the NFL that will result in faster games, possibly ones that finish in around two hours.