Just a few months after Vince McMahon confirmed an XFL reboot, a third football league is now in the works. Charlie Ebersol, son of Dick Ebersol, announced The Alliance of American Football league will begin in less than a year. Dick Ebersol, the NBC executive and Vince McMahon’s partner in the 1999 version of the XFL, will serve as a league adviser.
“The Alliance of American Football represents a fundamental shift in the way we approach professional sports,” said Charlie Ebersol, founder and CEO of The Alliance of American Football. “We believe fans and players are what’s most important, so our approach is simple — we’ve created an Alliance where fans and players share in the success of their teams.”
One of the failures of the original XFL was their rush to inception. The league was announced on February 3, 2000 and kicked off February 3, 2001. While McMahon’s second attempt at the XFL will wait until 2020 to debut, Ebersol’s Alliance of American Football will launch in less than one year on February 9, 2019.
Filling two leagues with players who don’t make the NFL seems like a tall task. Football fans crave the sport, but if the talent isn’t up to par, it won’t take long for viewers to lose interest. Ebersol, however, believes there is no shortage of professional level football players available.
“This is not a development league,” Ebersol said. “There are tens of thousands of players who don’t have a job, which translates into hundreds of Kurt Warners.”
Upstart leagues will attempt to capitalize on the NFL’s recent ratings decline and correct what they believe the NFL is doing wrong. Player safety and an improved viewing experience for consumers with 60 percent less commercials are ways The Alliance of American Football hopes to attract fans.
The new spring football league’s announcement included an impressive list of financial investments from Silicon Valley firms and a media rights agreement with CBS. The Alliance of American Football will partner with CBS which will broadcast the league opener, championship game, and air one regular season contest on CBS Sports Network each week. Other games during the three month season will be available live on the free Alliance app.
“As the Alliance of American Football launches next February we are excited to become the official television partner, adding more football to our robust programming line-up with a great package that includes two primetime games on CBS, as well as a full slate of regular-season spring football on CBS Sports Network,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “With Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian at the helm we are confident that the product they will deliver will be entertaining, exciting, engaging and something that fans will really enjoy.”
Former NFL executive Bill Polian will help oversee the league, with future hall-of-famer Troy Polamalu directing the player side. J.K. Mckay, a retired wide receiver who went on to become a trial lawyer and General Manager of the XFL’s Los Angeles Xtreme, will help oversee the league’s teams.
The league will consist of eight franchises with 50 players on each roster. Locations for each team were not announced, but that information is expected to be released within the next three months.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.