Just a few months after Vince McMahon confirmed an XFL reboot, a third football league is now in the works. Charlie Ebersol, son of Dick Ebersol, announced The Alliance of American Football league will begin in less than a year. Dick Ebersol, the NBC executive and Vince McMahon’s partner in the 1999 version of the XFL, will serve as a league adviser.
“The Alliance of American Football represents a fundamental shift in the way we approach professional sports,” said Charlie Ebersol, founder and CEO of The Alliance of American Football. “We believe fans and players are what’s most important, so our approach is simple — we’ve created an Alliance where fans and players share in the success of their teams.”
One of the failures of the original XFL was their rush to inception. The league was announced on February 3, 2000 and kicked off February 3, 2001. While McMahon’s second attempt at the XFL will wait until 2020 to debut, Ebersol’s Alliance of American Football will launch in less than one year on February 9, 2019.
Filling two leagues with players who don’t make the NFL seems like a tall task. Football fans crave the sport, but if the talent isn’t up to par, it won’t take long for viewers to lose interest. Ebersol, however, believes there is no shortage of professional level football players available.
“This is not a development league,” Ebersol said. “There are tens of thousands of players who don’t have a job, which translates into hundreds of Kurt Warners.”
Upstart leagues will attempt to capitalize on the NFL’s recent ratings decline and correct what they believe the NFL is doing wrong. Player safety and an improved viewing experience for consumers with 60 percent less commercials are ways The Alliance of American Football hopes to attract fans.
The new spring football league’s announcement included an impressive list of financial investments from Silicon Valley firms and a media rights agreement with CBS. The Alliance of American Football will partner with CBS which will broadcast the league opener, championship game, and air one regular season contest on CBS Sports Network each week. Other games during the three month season will be available live on the free Alliance app.
“As the Alliance of American Football launches next February we are excited to become the official television partner, adding more football to our robust programming line-up with a great package that includes two primetime games on CBS, as well as a full slate of regular-season spring football on CBS Sports Network,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “With Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian at the helm we are confident that the product they will deliver will be entertaining, exciting, engaging and something that fans will really enjoy.”
Former NFL executive Bill Polian will help oversee the league, with future hall-of-famer Troy Polamalu directing the player side. J.K. Mckay, a retired wide receiver who went on to become a trial lawyer and General Manager of the XFL’s Los Angeles Xtreme, will help oversee the league’s teams.
The league will consist of eight franchises with 50 players on each roster. Locations for each team were not announced, but that information is expected to be released within the next three months.