After over 20 years of declining viewership and poor reviews, the XFL has officially signed a deal with Disney and ESPN. What does this mean for the league, and how will it do against other national sports organizations?

What is the XFL?

According to The Business of Business, “the XFL was founded in 2001 as a more extreme, down and dirty, less politically correct competitor to the NFL, that emphasized rougher play, fan access to players and entertainment value.”

The league was recently acquired by former college football player and WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson purchased it from WWE owner Vince McMahon for $15 million in 2020.

Is the XFL like the NFL?

No, not quite. According to the official XFL website, the league plays football with slightly different rules than the NFL in order to have “less stall and more ball.” Some rule variations include a play from scrimmage rather than an extra-point kick, a running clock that only stops for timeouts and two-minute warnings and shorter games.

Is the XFL scripted like WWE?

While the XFL offers WWE-inspired theatrics and off-field entertainment, Sportscasting reports the games are, in fact, not scripted. However, like the WWE, the XFL does not have cheerleaders or a halftime show.

What changes will The Rock make?

With new ownership, Johnson said he is looking to “create a league of culture, a league of innovation,” in an interview with ESPN’s Get Up! last month, according to Wrestling Inc.

“I think the fans are going to see high-level, high-quality football,” Johnson said.

How can I watch it?

Following the new deal with Disney and ESPN, each season’s 43 games will be aired and streamed across ABC, ESPN and FX from 2023-2027, per XFL’s Twitter account. According to Sportsnaut, the new season will begin next February.