Skip to Content

ESPN, FX, & ESPN+ to Broadcast All XFL Football Games Beginning in 2023

Matt Tamanini

Apparently ESPN smells what The Rock is cookin’ as on Tuesday at Disney’s upfront presentation, Dwayne Johnson and his partner Dany Garcia announced that their football league — the XFL — will air all of its games on the worldwide leader in sports starting early next year. Beginning on Feb. 18, 2023 all 43 games of the XFL season will air on Disney-owned networks including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and FX with contests streaming on ESPN+.

“This is a definitive moment for the XFL and the beginning of an incredible, long-term partnership for the league, building on my longstanding, very successful legacy relationship I’ve had with Disney throughout my career,” Johnson said in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with global visionaries that are aligned with the XFL’s values, are true team players and share our ambitious goals to grow the XFL as a global sports and entertainment business.”

Johnson and Garcia co-own the “fan-first, fast-paced” football league with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners. The XFL originally launched in 2001 as a partnership between World Wrestling Entertainment (then the World Wrestling Federation) and NBC. Though it only lasted one season, the in-your-face league has remained an intriguing experiment in sports broadcasting ever since.

The COVID pandemic disrupted a planned return of the league in 2020 and WWE’s Vince McMahon sold the rights to the XFL to Johnson and company later that year. On Tuesday, Johnson and Garcia confirmed that the league had reached an exclusive, multi-year deal with Disney and that the league would return less than one week after the NFL’s Super Bowl LVII. The agreement between Disney and the league runs through the 2027 season.

Keeping with the history of the XFL, the league will incorporate innovative rules “with the goal of advancing the game of football and expanding player opportunities.”

“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said. “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”

Further details on the XFL’s return season — including details on scheduling dates, times, and platforms — will be announced in the coming months. The partnership also grants Disney and ESPN global rights to the XFL.

“Without question, we have long admired Disney’s distinct ability to engage an expansive consumer fanbase across verticals, while also maintaining a deeply-authentic, nuanced and heartfelt approach to storytelling much like our own,” Garcia, who serves as the XFL’s chairwoman said. “To find a partner that honors our foundation and to be able to root our vision of unwavering passion, accessibility and the future of football with Disney as our home, is a dream come true. We are extraordinarily excited to explore the endless possibilities of this partnership – today is surely just the beginning.”

ESPN+

ESPN+ is a live TV streaming service that gives access to thousands of live sporting events, original shows like Peyton’s Place, the entire library of 30 for 30, E:60, The Last Dance, as well exclusive written analysis from top ESPN insiders.

The service can be subscribed for $9.99 / month per month or annually for $99.99 / year.

You will get a daily out-of-market game from MLB, and every out-of-market NHL with NHL Power Play (previously NHL.TV). For NFL Fans, they have an exclusive NFL game, and simulcast select Monday Football games.

The service has some of the most attractive soccer coverage including Bundesliga, LaLiga, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredevise and more.

College sports fans will be able to watch thousands of games and events including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf, and more.

For boxing and UFC fans, the service offers Top Rank boxing and will be the home of 15 exclusive UFC events.

ESPN+ now includes exclusive insights from analysts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay (which used to be part of ESPN Insider), as well as premium Fantasy Tools & PickCenter.

What it does not include is most live sports that air on ESPN and ESPN2.

To get access to those channels you have to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. We suggest reading our guide on How to Watch ESPN without Cable.

DIRECTV STREAM Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $50 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Sling TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $25 Uber Eats Gift Card when you sign up for Sling TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Hulu Live TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $35 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for Hulu Live TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.