WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has reportedly sold $100 million of WWE stock to fund his new, self-funded Alpha Entertainment venture. News of McMahon selling 3.34 million shares of WWE stock comes just days after Alpha Entertainment filed for five trademarks related to the XFL on December 16th.
Vince McMahon sold $100 million worth of WWE stock today to fund Alpha Entertainment, which he created, in part, to fund a pro football venture.
Alpha Entertainment filed for 5 trademarks last week to the "XFL."
Draw your own conclusions.https://t.co/9DF8EUwOU3
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 21, 2017
ESPN’s 30-For-30 documentary series aired a piece on the rise and fall of the XFL earlier this year, in which McMahon sat down with former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol. During their discussion, Ebersol asked the WWE chairman, “Do you ever have any thoughts about trying again?” McMahon replied, “Yes I do.” McMahon probably had this idea to bring the league back well before the ESPN documentary took place.
In all of this, one of the biggest question marks is how this affects WWE, both in general and specific to its core pro wrestling product. The original XFL was part of WWE, and famously sapped not just their finances but also other company resources; members of the creative, production, and announcing staff were all forced into doing double duty in some form.
This time, the league is explicitly not a WWE project, which means that McMahon’s attention is going to be divided. Historically, that’s never been a good thing. The XFL trademarks are also WWE intellectual property, which raises questions about what WWE stockholders might think of transferring of ownership to McMahon’s new operation.
The XFL, a joint venture between WWE and NBC, originally debuted in 2001 but only last one season, as WWE and NBC lost approximately $35 million each, after taxes.
Vince McMahon turned 72 this year. If he wants to be known as more than just a pro wrestling promoter and history suggests that he does—then his second effort at a football league is probably his last chance.