The XFL has reached an agreement with The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) and ESPN which will see all regular-season and playoff games to be presented on a joint platform.
The American professional football league is planning to kick off a return season on 18 February 2023, and continue through the spring with 40 regular-season matchups, two semifinal playoff games and the championship.
Re-established in 2018, the league’s ownership group now consists of Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners.
On the agreement, Johnson commented: “This is a definitive moment for the XFL and the beginning of an incredible, long-term partnership for the league, building on my longstanding, very successful legacy relationship I’ve had with Disney throughout my career.
“We’re excited to be working with global visionaries that are aligned with the XFL’s values, are true team players and share our ambitious goals to grow the XFL as a global sports and entertainment business.
“Through the combined power of Disney and the XFL, together we will create a new powerhouse on the sports calendar and bring a dynamic game of football to fans everywhere. Time to ball out.”
Additionally, the agreement includes exclusive content rights across TWDC/ESPN’s digital, social and direct-to-consumer outlets such as ESPN+. Global rights for this venture are also included.
“Without question, we have long admired Disney’s distinct ability to engage an expansive consumer fanbase across verticals, while also maintaining a deeply-authentic, nuanced and heartfelt approach to storytelling much like our own,” added Dany Garcia, Chairwoman of the XFL.
“To find a partner that honours our foundation and to be able to root our vision of unwavering passion, accessibility and the future of football with Disney as our home, is a dream come true. We are extraordinarily excited to explore the endless possibilities of this partnership – today is surely just the beginning.”
Moreover, the US broadcaster stated that it wants to ‘emphasise competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment’.
Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman at ESPN and Sports Content, added: “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”