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XFL Reveals TV Schedule For Inaugural Season

“The XFL’s eight-team, 10-week schedule will average two games every Saturday and Sunday, from early February until the playoffs in late April.”

Brandon Contes

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For the second year in a row, a startup professional football league will kickoff their inaugural season one week after the Super Bowl. In 2019 it was the Alliance of American Football League, in 2020 it’s Vince McMahon’s reboot of the XFL, which announced their broadcast schedule Tuesday. 

During its first season, the XFL will partner with ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and FS2 as they combine to televise every game of the league’s 10-week season.

“There is such an appetite for football in America, and FOX Sports is thrilled to offer our viewers even more of the sport they love with the debut of XFL on FOX,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks FOX Sports. “As part of our continued commitment to live sports, we’re thrilled February no longer marks the end of football season at FOX Sports, but the beginning of a new partnership and robust schedule.”

Historically, startup professional football leagues have struggled to gain traction and find their niche. One year after the failed Alliance of American Football League and nearly two decades after the XFL lasted just one season, the reboot hopes to convince fans football doesn’t end after the Super Bowl.

The XFL’s eight-team, 10-week schedule will average two games every Saturday and Sunday, from early February until the playoffs in late April.

WEEK 1
Saturday, February 8: Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, February 8: Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, February 9: Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians, 2pm, FOX
Sunday, February 9: St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades, 5pm, ESPN

WEEK 2
Saturday, February 15: New York Guardians at DC Defenders, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, February 15: Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, February 16: Dallas Renegades at Los Angeles Wildcats, 3pm, ABC
Sunday, February 16: St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks, 6pm, FS1

WEEK 3
Saturday, February 22: Houston Roughnecks at Tampa Bay Vipers, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, February 22: Dallas Renegades at Seattle Dragons, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, February 23: New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks, 3pm, ESPN
Sunday, February 23: DC Defenders at Los Angeles Wildcats, 6pm, FS1

WEEK 4
Saturday, February 29: Los Angeles Wildcats at New York Guardians, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, February 29: Seattle Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, March 1: Houston Roughnecks at Dallas Renegades, 4pm, FS1
Sunday, March 1: DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers, 7pm, ESPN2

WEEK 5
Saturday, March 7: Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, March 7: New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, March 8: St. Louis BattleHawks at DC Defenders, 3pm, FS1
Sunday, March 8: Tampa Bay Vipers at Los Angeles Wildcats, 9pm, ESPN

WEEK 6
Saturday, March 14: Houston Roughnecks at New York Guardians, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, March 14: St. Louis BattleHawks at Tampa Bay Vipers, 5pm, FS2
Sunday, March 15: Dallas Renegades at DC Defenders, 4pm, FS1
Sunday, March 15: Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons, 7pm, ESPN2

WEEK 7
Saturday, March 21: Dallas Renegades at Tampa Bay Vipers, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, March 21: Los Angeles Wildcats at St. Louis BattleHawks, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, March 22: New York Guardians at Seattle Dragons, 3pm, ABC
Sunday, March 22: DC Defenders at Houston Roughnecks, 6pm, FS1

WEEK 8
Saturday, March 28: Tampa Bay Vipers at DC Defenders, 2pm, ABC
Saturday, March 28: St. Louis BattleHawks at New York Guardians, 5pm, FOX
Sunday, March 29: Houston Roughnecks at Los Angeles Wildcats, 3pm, ABC
Sunday, March 29: Seattle Dragons at Dallas Renegades, 6pm, FS1

WEEK 9
Thursday, April 2: Dallas Renegades at Houston Roughnecks, 8pm, FOX
Saturday, April 4: DC Defenders at New York Guardians, 2pm, ABC
Sunday, April 5: Tampa Bay Vipers at St. Louis BattleHawks, 12pm, ESPN
Sunday, April 5: Seattle Dragons at Los Angeles Wildcats, 6pm, FS1

WEEK 10
Thursday, April 9: Los Angeles Wildcats at Dallas Renegades, 8pm, FOX
Saturday, April 11: Houston Roughnecks at Seattle Dragons, 2pm, ABC
Sunday, April 12: DC Defenders at St. Louis BattleHawks OR New York Guardians at Tampa Bay Vipers*, 3pm, ABC
Sunday, April 12: New York Guardians at Tampa Bay Vipers OR DC Defenders at St. Louis BattleHawks*, 6pm, FS1

PLAYOFFS
Saturday, April 18: East 2 at East 1, 3pm, FOX
Sunday, April 19: West 2 at West 1, 3pm, ESPN

CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, April 26: XFL Championship, 3pm, ESPN

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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