EDITOR’S NOTE: Scott Guglielmino serves as senior vice president, programming and acquisitions, at ESPN.
This weekend, we have the unique opportunity to help launch a brand new sports league: the XFL. While most fans recognize the name from its first iteration in 2001 (see ESPN’s popular 30 for 30 film), this XFL is completely different.
Led by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, Commissioner Oliver Luck and a team of veteran sports industry leaders, the XFL was created “For the Love of Football” and promises to be fast-paced, authentic, innovative, and perfectly timed between the Super Bowl and NFL Draft.
The XFL will also be widely distributed – perhaps more so than any new league in history. While fans are accustomed to 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday NFL games, our programming team has scheduled consistent windows – Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (ABC) and Sundays at 5p.m. (ESPN/ABC) – for XFL games during the 10-week regular season. (FOX/FS1 has done the same with its weekly XFL games.) The postseason will consist of Conference Championship games and the first XFL Championship on ESPN (Sunday, April 26).
While the XFL is all about football in a traditional sense, the league will establish its own identify through a series of new rules and tweaks – tiered point-after-touchdown options, a new kickoff approach, double-forward passes and an overtime shootout, as examples. The XFL has also encouraged ESPN to experiment with our coverage, which represents a thrilling proposition for our team, which is constantly striving to serve sports fans by presenting events in new and groundbreaking ways.
Our XFL production innovations will focus on two key areas – audio and access. Fans will be able to hear conversations between coaches and players in real-time during games as we tap into the communication systems for live audio. We will feature sideline interviews during game action, and cameras will have access to locker rooms and other unique locations.
Our XFL production innovations will focus on two key areas – audio and access. Fans will be able to hear conversations between coaches and players in real-time during games as we tap into the communication systems for live audio. We will feature sideline interviews during game action, and cameras will have access to locker rooms and other unique locations. Another ESPN first: The spread and over/under will be part of our XFL score bug during games.
Steve Levy will call the XFL opener between the DC Defenders and Seattle Dragons on Saturday. There's a chance he'll be talking with Jim Zorn while the Seattle coach is calling plays, though presumably not "Swinging Gate." https://t.co/7ndvWqdd4W
— Scott Allen (@ScottSAllen) February 6, 2020
Many ESPN departments have collaborated in support of this new property – Creative Services, Marketing, the Creative Content Unit (CCU), and more. We also welcomed Commissioner Luck to our Bristol, Conn., campus this week where he appeared on a variety of shows and spoke openly with our employees about the new league.
Already home to the NFL, college football and the CFL, the addition of XFL further solidifies ESPN’s year-round commitment to football, and we can’t wait to kick off the new season this weekend with the Seattle Dragons versus DC Defenders on ABC (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET) and the St. Louis BattleHawks versus Dallas Renegades on ESPN (Sunday, 5 p.m.).
For fans who just watched the Super Bowl and are already missing football, get ready for the new XFL.