XFL Becomes Latest Casualty of the Coronavirus Shutdown

The XFL has essentially suspended its operations and laid off its employees, signaling that the spring football league has become the latest casualty of the national Chinese coronavirus epidemic. There are currently no plans to place the league back into operation next year.


The league was formed in 2018 by professional wrestling executive Vince McMahon, seeking to become the first major professional football league to compete with the NFL in almost a century. The league had appeared to show promise during its inaugural season, selling out arenas in which its teams competed and attracting a decent online following.

The league’s season was structured for a spring setting to avoid directly competing with the NFL, and the first season featured 10 games for eight teams. The season had to be suspended in early March when the national coronavirus epidemic required Americans to engage in social distancing, a practice that clearly prevents the congregation of fans in football stadiums.

But it appears the attempt to create a lasting alternative professional football league is destined to become the latest casualty of the coronavirus epidemic. There are no current plans to return to play in 2021, suggesting that the cessation of operations appears permanent.

The XFL had possibly shown more of a resilient league structure than other ill-fated attempts to compete with the NFL, such as arena football and the 2001 incarnation of the XFL. Football fans who wanted a spring football league will now be left in the dark.

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