An unsubstantiated Twitter report about World Wrestling Entertainment owner and creative head Vince McMahon has slowly led to actual news about McMahon reportedly resurrecting his failed XFL semi-pro football league. Things began Friday when Twitter user Brad Shephard teased upcoming news about the WWE.
I just received two bombshell pieces of information regarding WWE. Shall I share it publicly or privately? Shall I share it with a particular dirtsheet or not loop them in since they have no idea?— Brad Shepard 🤘🏻 (@TheBradShepard) December 15, 2017
“I just received two bombshell pieces of information regarding WWE” Shephard tweeted. “Shall I share it publicly or privately? Shall I share it with a particular dirt sheet or not loop them in since they have no idea?”
The actual “bombshell,” which again is unsubstantiated, quickly followed.
EXCLUSIVE: Vince McMahon is looking to bring back the XFL and may announce it on January 25th, 2018.— Brad Shepard 🤘🏻 (@TheBradShepard) December 16, 2017
“EXCLUSIVE: Vince McMahon is looking to bring back the XFL and may announce it on January 25th, 2018,” Shephard added.
This thing crossed over from the realm of rumor to actual news when David Bixenspan of Deadspin got the WWE to offer a formal statement on the matter.
A WWE spokesperson issued the attached statement to me & @Deadspin in response to my inquiry about tonight's rumors of a soon to be announced XFL revival. They declined further comment. Whatever Vince McMahon's "Alpha Entertainment" is, it's self-funded & separate from WWE. pic.twitter.com/oT0Oxyi2fV— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) December 16, 2017
“Vince McMahon has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football. Mr McMahon has nothing further to announce at this time.”
Not only did the WWE not deny the report, but they confirmed McMahon was looking to “explore investment opportunities,” some of which including “professional football.”
This could be nothing, since “investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes” is a nebulous term that could include anything from reality programming to competitive eating and spelling bees.
But McMahon was pretty adamant about reviving the league in an appearance on the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary, This Was The XFL.
“Yes I do,” McMahon said, when asked if he thought about bringing back the league. “I don’t know what it would be. I don’t know if it’s going to be another XFL or what it may be or how different I would make it. It seems like in some way it would tie in either with the NFL itself or the owners.”
Launching the XFL was the financial equivalent of setting a pile of money on fire, and the money troubles eventually led to the league’s demise. With NFL viewership reportedly declining, it would be interesting to see how and if McMahon could finesse a return.
In the meantime, various trademarks have already been filed and McMahon’s spokespeople aren’t exactly denying the rumors that he’s interested in investing in pro football again.