Vince McMahon had very high expectations for his revamped XFL return.
The league actually had some decent ratings over the first few weeks and seemed to be picking up some steam as far as players establishing themselves as fan favorites and viewers taking to the aspects of the league that differed from the NFL, such as live, on-the-spot interviews immediately after pivotal plays.
Then COVID-19 hit the scene and the sports world was paralyzed in mid-flight, causing financial hardship for the American working class on up to the lucrative pro leagues.
The XFL suspended operations Friday morning, and multiple sources told ESPN that the league has laid off nearly all of its staff — a handful of executives remain employed — and currently has no plans to return in 2021.
The league currently has no plans to return in 2021. pic.twitter.com/NxZbHAKRsM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 10, 2020
If any league needed to have a strong season with no interruptions or setbacks, it was the XFL.
Unfortunately, the XFL becomes the first pro sports league to fall victim to the economic crisis caused by the global pandemic. And the second spring football league in as many years to suspend operations before completing its final season. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) ran out of money in 2019 and closed after eight weeks of play.
Comparing the AAF (ended because the people in charge were frauds who had no business plan) and XFL (ended because of pandemic and economic collapse) is not the move today or any other time
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) April 10, 2020
When the season was initially cut short in March, XFL’s chief operating officer, Jeffery Pollock, says they had every intention of running it back in 2021. But as the coronavirus spread, erasing any definitive restart to the sports agenda, it’s unlikely that the XFL will be able to survive the uncertainty of this lost season, while preparing for next season.
The XFL is owned by WWE CEO/President Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment.
In a statement, WWE said: “Given the uncertainty of the current environment, the XFL has suspended operations and is evaluating next steps.”
It looks like the return of the XFL ended before it ever really got started.