Vince McMahon is bringing back the XFL.
In a highly touted announcement made at 3 p.m., the WWE founder and chairman announced the new professional football league, the first incarnation of which was announced in 1999, is returning.
Coming in 2020, McMahon says the league will be “football reimagined” and have a championship game. McMahon said the game will be faster-paced than NFL football.
Teams will be in eight cities, which will be announced in the coming months, according to ESPN. Team names will follow the cities announcement.
Before the announcement, CBS Sports reported that McMahon would be announcing the 2020 return of the defunct league.
The original XFL, which McMahon co-owned with NBC, only lasted one season in 2001.
“I wanted to do this since the day we stopped the other one,” McMahon told ESPN. “A chance to do it with no partners, strictly funded by me, which would allow me to look in the mirror and say, ‘You were the one who screwed this up,’ or ‘You made this thing a success.’”
McMahon will be the only owner of all the league’s teams, and said players will not be able to make political statements while on the field.
“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” McMahon said. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.
“I can say, ‘Here are the rules, and as long as you are playing football in the stadium for us, you follow these rules.’”
During the news conference Thursday, McMahon said “it would be appropriate” for players to stand during the national anthem. He also said players with criminal records would not be able to play in the league. Salaries have not been determined, but winning players will make more money. Rosters will have 40 players. The regular season will have 10 games and a postseason with to semifinals.
McMahon said the XFL will listen to sports experts and fans when it comes to nicknames on the back of jerseys and other gimmicks. The original league gained attention from nicknames like “He Hate Me” on Rod Smart’s Las Vegas Outlaws jersey.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN the league would not comment on the XFL.
“We aren’t going to have much of what the (original) XFL had, including the cheerleaders, who aren’t really part of the game anymore,” McMahon said. “The audience wants entertainment with football, and that’s what we are going to give them.”
More information on the XFL can be found at XFL.com.