No kneeling, no convicts - Vince McMahon outlines plans for XFL

The news wasn’t a surprise when it came, trademark filings and stock market movement from Vince McMahon had indicated that the dead and buried XFL was going to be resurrected.

The public disinterest in the attempt at a professional football league the first time around didn’t deter the billionaire carny Vince McMahon.

The venture lost close to $70 million in its only year in operation in 2001, NBC pulled the plug on the broadcast deal after the first season as a result of the dreadful ratings.

This was a failure, and the one that has always hung over one of the World’s most famous entertainment entrepreneurs. A third generation wrestling promoter, who’s great grandparents hailed from Galway, McMahon bought the World Wrestling Federation from his father and turned a small regional operation into a publicly traded company with an annual  turnover of almost $800 million.

The successful businessman was mocked when his football league folded, and upon the announcement of its return many social media users shared the same quote: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

The XFL will return to screens in 2020 and will be made up of eight teams playing a 10-week schedule.

McMahon is the sole backer and sold almost $100 million in WWE stock last month to create the company Alpha Entertainment, which will run the XFL.

He denied suggestions that his venture has anything to do with the current turmoil in the NFL: "The start of this league has nothing to do with the NFL's troubles," McMahon said.

"What has happened there is their business, and I'm not going to knock those guys, but I am going to learn from their mistakes as anyone would if they were tasked with reimagining a new football league."

"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."

McMahon says the family friendly XFL will not have the same degree of violence or sexual content as its predecessor.

He also closed the doors for any ex-cons to play football in the XFL: "You want someone who does not have any criminality associated whatsoever with them. Even if you have a DUI you will not play in the XFL."

McMahon has vowed to stay out of the spotlight and says the press conference announcing the XFL could be his first and last public involvement with the endeavour.

He says that games will be much shorter with rules simpler and went on to guarantee that there would be no crossover with his most famous success, WWE.

The message McMahon was eager to convey is that everything is different except for the name. “Forget what we did with the XFL,” McMahon said, laughing. “That was a long time ago.”