The season is scheduled to begin Saturday, Feb. 8, the week after the Super Bowl, with games on ABC and Fox. Back-to-back games will be played on Saturday afternoons throughout the season, most of them on ABC and Fox. Additional games will be broadcast on Sundays. Fox will have two Thursday night prime-time telecasts.
ESPN and FS1 will each televise a semifinal playoff game, and ESPN will broadcast the championship game April 26.
The XFL is neither receiving a fee for its broadcast rights nor paying any network to broadcast its games, according to a person with knowledge of the deals. Between the production provided by the networks and the value of the airtime, the league is receiving an estimated $40 million from the networks for the season, the person said.
Such visibility for a new league is substantial, but the announcement comes weeks after another spring football league, the Alliance of American Football, disbanded before it could complete its first season. Most AAF games were televised by TNT, NFL Network or CBS Sports Network or were streamed online, but while early ratings were impressive, the numbers gradually declined as the league’s problems mounted.
The XFL is the brainchild of WWE CEO Vince McMahon. The first iteration of the XFL played one season, 2001, before it folded. The new league will field teams in or around Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa, New York, and Washington. The D.C. franchise will play at Audi Field, home of D.C. United of MLS.
The XFL is scheduled to have a 10-week regular season. Its first draft is scheduled to take place this fall.