(ESPN Press Room) – 5 February 2020 – ESPN International will deliver comprehensive global coverage of the 2020 XFL season to sports fans around the world through ESPN-branded platforms and distribution partners. Coverage will include regular-season, playoff and the XFL Championship games produced by both ESPN/ABC and FOX.
XFL games will be distributed on six continents (all except Antarctica) totaling more than 100 million households in over 200 countries and territories.
Countries and regions include:
- ESPN/Disney owned linear networks: Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, Caribbean, Pac Rim, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Netherlands and South East Asia
- ESPN Player (OTT): Pan-Europe, Middle East, Africa, and select territories in South East Asia
- Brand license and syndication partners: Canada (via TSN); United Kingdom and Ireland (BT); Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Croatia, Israel, Russia and India (Sony)
“The XFL will debut an exciting brand of American football that we are thrilled to introduce to sports fans around the world by providing an expansive and robust global platform on ESPN networks, services and distribution partnerships,” said Tim Bunnell, ESPN Senior Vice President, International Programming, Production and Marketing.
“Our partnership with ESPN International allows us to reach a global audience from the start,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President & COO. “We’re both on a mission to bring fans more of the game we all love, and we’re delighted that ESPN International will showcase our fast-paced, up-tempo style of American football across its extensive network of branded platforms and distribution partners.”
The XFL will distinguish itself with a series of rules designed to make games fast-paced and exciting. The official rulebook includes key gameplay innovations designed to reduce game stoppages and promote more action and meaningful plays.
The rules encourage more kickoff and punt returns, and, remove the option to kick for an extra point after a touchdown. Instead, teams will have three options – a 1-point play from the 2-yard line, a 2-point play from the 5-yard line or a 3-point play from the 10-yard line.
ESPN’s coverage will offer unprecedented levels of access, with reporters conducting live interviews on the sidelines. The production team will also be able to tap into the teams’ communications systems and listen to conversations between coaches and players.
Many players are also set to be fitted with microphones, bringing fans closer to the action than ever before.
The XFL 2020 schedule, a 79-day sprint from kick-off to the Championship game, starts on Saturday, February 8, when the DC Defenders host the Seattle Dragons at 2 p.m. ET. The debut is followed by the Los Angeles Wildcats at the Houston Roughnecks at 5 p.m. ET.
The eight-team league is divided into two four-team divisions (East and West). The XFL East features the DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, and Tampa Bay Vipers. The Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, and Seattle Dragons comprise the XFL West.
Each XFL team will host five home games and will play a schedule that features home and away games against division rivals and one game against each team in the other division.
The opening weekend of the 10-week regular season continues on Sunday, February 9, when the New York Guardians host the Tampa Bay Vipers at 2 p.m. ET and concludes later that day when the St. Louis BattleHawks travel to face the Dallas Renegades at 5 p.m. ET.
Additional regular-season highlights include home openers for Seattle (February 15), Los Angeles (February 16), Tampa Bay (February 22) and St. Louis (February 23). The country’s two biggest markets – New York and Los Angeles – meet only one time on February 29, when the Wildcats take on the Guardians at MetLife Stadium. The first of two intrastate Texas matchups between the Roughnecks and Renegades follows on March 1 in Dallas.
Following the regular season, the top two teams in each division will square off for the right to play for the league championship on Sunday, April 26, at 3 p.m. ET. The East Final is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, and the West Final will be held on Sunday, April 19. The first-place team in each division will host its respective division final.