XFL shuts down operations, lays off most of staff

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The XFL shut down operations Friday, April 10, 2020 and laid off almost its entire staff, reports ESPN — all as a result of a halt on its games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to insiders contacted by ESPN, the league also said has no plans for a 2021 season — but stopped shy of saying it’s closing down completely.

However, according to the ESPN source, that’s just a formality and the league is all but closed — while the XFL said it is “evaluating next steps” in a statement.

In a conference call April 10, XFL management announced most of its staff is being laid off, except for some key executives.

The XFL suspended its season, like most other pro sports, after playing five games.

This is the second league to use the XFL name — both of which had connections to Vince McMahon.

The first iteration played one season starting in 2001 as a joint venture between World Wrestling Federation, now known as WWE, and NBC and incorporated a variety of elements borrowed from pro wrestling in an attempt to draw viewers.

That version of the XFL did not return for a second season, resulting in a reported $35 million loss.

McMahon, who has also been a majority shareholder in the various organizations that led to the WWE, opted to recycle the XFL name in his 2020 launch, but did not use the elements from pro wrestling this time around.

The 2020 XFL games had broadcast rights split between ABC and its sister channel ESPN as well as Fox Sports and its sister FS1 with two games scheduled to air on ESPN2 and FS2.