NBC and World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Form Strategic
Partnership for XFL
To Be Broadcast on NBC Primetime on Saturday Nights Starting February
CT/New York NY, March 29, 2000 - NBC and World Wrestling Federation
Entertainment, Inc. (NMS: WWFE) today announced a strategic partnership
to jointly own and run the XFL, a new professional football league
that will begin play on February 3, 2001. The agreement calls
for each party to own 50% of the league and its eight teams. In
addition, NBC has committed to broadcast regional and national
XFL games on Saturday nights in primetime from February through
April. NBC will also broadcast the XFL Championship game, the
first of which will be played on April 21, 2001.
will be 100 percent competitive sport - the brand of "smash
mouth" football that fans crave. The league will connect
with fans by returning football to its tougher roots and the wide-open
way it was played in the '60s and '70s. The XFL will encourage
individuality and the natural expression of joy and emotion on
the field of play. Through rules changes designed to enhance the
action and speed of the game, along with broadcast television
innovations that will bring fans "inside the game,"
the XFL will recapture the natural personality, fun and intensity
of pro football.
Chairman, NBC Sports and Olympics said, "The absolute key
to the success of this league lies in the incredible success Vince
McMahon has had throughout his career in reaching the most elusive
audience in television…young males. For example, in weekly head-to-head
competition with "Monday Night Football" over 17 weeks
in 1999, McMahon's live event programming outdrew "Monday
Night Football" among young adult males, ages 12-24, by 47
percent*. That is an incredible triumph of marketing and promotion
by the McMahon organization."
"We're excited to be a part of this historic and unique opportunity
to launch a new football league to air on NBC in primetime beginning
each February at a time when the public's interest in football
is at its absolute peak - one week after the Super Bowl. Together
with the McMahon organization, we want to put the fun back into
Chairman of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., said,
"The combined talents of both NBC and WWFE, which include
original television programming expertise, complementary audience
reach, and brand-building success is a sum much greater than its
parts. Saturday nights have always been special on NBC and we're
proud that XFL football has found a home here. In addition to
having a long history of working strongly together in the past,
I believe that the combination of these two organizations will
make XFL football one of the best built brands in all of sports."
President, NBC West Coast, said, "The XFL will be a great
addition to our Saturday night lineup. Vince McMahon's unprecedented
ability to reach the important young adult male demographic across
multiple networks, coupled with NBC's multiple promotional platforms
in both entertainment and sports, ensures a terrific launch. The
awareness factor at the launch of this league next February should
be - especially among young males - almost 100%. NBC is in the
business of appealing to younger viewers and this is a great opportunity
to attract even more young adult males to the network. NBC Entertainment
looks forward to working with the XFL and NBC Sports on this unique
will be given unprecedented access with cameras positioned in
locker rooms, on sidelines and in the helmets of selected players.
XFL players, coaches, locker rooms and huddles will also be miked,
providing viewers with unique insight into the strategy of the
game and enabling them to fully experience the true emotion, attitude,
and intensity of the players, both on and off the field. Both
NBC and WWFE will cross-promote the XFL during their respective
more wide open offensive play and to keep game times under three
hours, the XFL will adopt a number of rules changes, including:
Eliminating the fair-catch rule (making punts live balls), requiring
only one foot inbounds on pass receptions, instituting a 35-second
play clock and limiting halftime to 10 minutes.
of every XFL player will be to win games. XFL players will be
paid salaries to play, but they'll be paid more to win. Each week
the winning teams will share in a victory bonus pool - giving
added significance to each week's matchups.
The XFL has
already begun building a highly qualified team to launch the new
league. Basil V. DeVito Jr., a sports business veteran whose resume
includes WWFE, National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA),
and the Indiana Pacers will serve as President of the XFL. Billy
Hicks, the XFL's Vice President of Administration most recently
served at President and General Manager of Major League Soccer's
(MLS) Dallas Burn and has also worked as a General Manager in
the World League of American Football (WLAF) and as an administrator
with the Dallas Cowboys.
Heading up Football
Operations as Vice President is Michael Keller, a former linebacker
for the Dallas Cowboys and former senior executive with the National
Football League, United States Football League (USFL) and WLAF.
Michael Weisman, a highly respected, award-winning producer whose
credits include seven Super Bowls and 15 Emmy Awards, has been
brought on as a broadcast production consultant.
A talented and
experienced scouting staff is in place and an XFL Advisory Panel
has also been created. The advisory panel features several highly
respected football and sports industry veterans, including Dr.
Larry Lemak, a respected orthopedic surgeon and former owner and
manager in the USFL, WLAF and the Canadian Football League (CFL);
George Martin, a 14-year veteran of the New York Giants and former
President of the NFL Players Association; and former Dallas Cowboys
superstar Drew Pearson.
The XFL is actively
negotiating with a second television partner to complement the
NBC portion of the XFL broadcast package. As part of the pact,
NBC and WWFE have agreed that the XFL will control 100 percent
of the advertising inventory sold during all XFL broadcasts by
a dedicated sponsorship and advertising sales force. Six cities
have been announced to date: Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando,
San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Two more teams will be announced
in the next 30 days. WWFE announced the formation of the XFL on
Feb. 3, 2000.
1999 2-hour programming block from 9-11 p.m. on Mondays on USA
Network averaged an 8.5 national rating among young adult males
ages 12-24. ABC's "Monday Night Football" averaged a
5.8 national rating in the same demographic over the same 17-week
period in the same head-to-head 9-11 p.m. time period.
World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. Jayson Bernstein
(media) 203-353-5019, Gary Fishman (financial) 212-889-1727 x110
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which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks
and uncertainties include the conditions of the markets for live,
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