From the WWE Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com
Vince McMahon has Wrestlemania 35 to worry about this weekend. But apparently, he's taking the relaunch of the XFL as seriously as ever.
According to a new SEC filing from the majority owner and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, he's selling over $271.9 million in WWE stock in order to fund Alpha Entertainment LLC, the parent company of his returning professional football league that folded after one season in 2001. The filing states that McMahon sold 3,204,427 shares of WWE's Class A common stock at the March 27 closing price of $84.87. McMahon sold off about 4.1 percent of total WWE common stock, but retained 80.1 percent of total voting power and 36.8 percent WWE stock ownership.
McMahon originally announced the relaunch of the XFL in Jan. 2018, promising a worthy alternative to the NFL free of issues that mar the sports superpower's image. He specifically cited players with criminal records and players who invoke "social and political issues" as things you won't see in the new version of the XFL, expected to launch in Feb. 2020 after the end of the 2019 NFL season.
He also promised a "faster" and "more exciting" football product with "simplified" rules. Virtually all of McMahon's pledges appeared to be direct responses to problems that plagued the NFL at the time. His announcement also coincided with the NFL's sliding TV ratings, which ended up rebounding in the 2018 season.
McMahon's reinvestment into Alpha Entertainment, which the SEC filing states is for the purpose of funding the XFL, also coincides with the imminent collapse of the Alliance of American Football before the conclusion of its first season. The new league, which launched in 2019 and features many former NFL players and coaches in prominent roles, recently suspended all football operations, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It's not officially out of business yet, but a move like that strongly indicates that collapse is imminent.
Despite the original XFL and AAF both failing to last a second season, McMahon has vowed to remain committed to the XFL relaunch for at least two years. The next step for the WWE owner is to prove his ideas (and perhaps some others) will prove compelling enough to keep viewers engaged better than other recent failed football leagues.
And in spite of the XFL news, McMahon's first priority in the coming days is still to make sure Wrestlemania 35 at MetLife Stadium is as successful as ever for the WWE's flagship annual event.
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