On Tuesday, it was announced that film producer Charlie Ebersol, the son of veteran television executive Dick Ebersol, is launching the Alliance of American Football league in 2019.
The upstart football league is beating Alpha Entertainment’s XFL to the marketplace one-year in advance and will serve in direct competition to Vince McMahon’s passion product, in which McMahon sold close to $100 million in stock for start-up financing.
The league is set to launch on Saturday, February 9th, 2019 with a 10-week season involving eight teams and a championship game scheduled for the weekend of April 26-28th.
Ebersol’s league has the clear advantage with a television deal already in place with CBS. The CBS network will be broadcasting games each weekend, including two games in prime time during the ten-week season with one game airing exclusively on the CBS Sports Network weekly.
The similarities to the XFL, include the AAF running the league by itself with control of all eight teams as opposed to adopting owners for each franchise. The AAF will also make several rule changes to speed up the game with a shorter play clock than the NFL’s, fewer commercial breaks, and mandatory two-point conversion attempts after each touchdown. There will also be a heavy emphasis on concussion prevention and several rules designed to make the game safer.
Dick Ebersol, who served as the president of NBC Sports when the XFL partnered with the network in 2000, will serve on the AAF’s board of directors.
Charlie Ebersol was the director of the “30 for 30” documentary “This is the XFL”, that aired on ESPN in 2017. The climactic scene involved Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol speaking hypothetically about the XFL returning and McMahon being open to the possibility. In the Variety story, it was said that the AAF has been in the development stage for over one-year.
The story most will latch onto with this development is the two architects of the XFL, Vince McMahon, and Dick Ebersol, on opposite sides as they go into competition with each other to create a rival football league to the NFL. The two have been business allies for decades up until this point with Ebersol and McMahon working together to produce “Saturday Night’s Main Event” beginning in 1985.