The idea that Vince McMahon might take another crack at creating a football league to rival the NFL is gaining some traction.
It started with a proclamation from a journalist/wrestling fan Friday night that McMahon is ready to revive the XFL. Then a WWE spokesperson didn’t do a very good job of shutting down the speculation.
Now there’s this: McMahon has sold more than $100 million worth of WWE stock to help fund his new company, Alpha Entertainment LLC, according to ESPN.
McMahon sold 3.34 million shares, or less than five percent of his stock with WWE, according to filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The WWE said in the filing that McMahon initiated the sale “primarily to fund a separate entity from the Company, Alpha Entertainment LLC, which Mr. McMahon established to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football.”
The new company also filed for five trademarks related to the XFL on Dec. 16, according to ESPN. McMahon founded the XFL in 2001 with former NBC czar Dick Ebersol.
It only lasted one season, but the quirky rules, nicknames on the jerseys and the presence of McMahon (not to mention Jesse Ventura as the lead analyst and cameos by various wrestling stars like The Rock) created a unique place in sports history for the XFL.
The NFL has dominated the sports landscape in America for a long time, but it has dealt with a myriad of controversies and backlash in recent seasons. Fan unrest, including disappointing television ratings and attendance, have been one of the biggest story lines of the 2017 season. This might be the right time for McMahon to give professional football another try.