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ABC to broadcast inaugural XFL game, schedule released

ABC will broadcast the first game of the rebooted XFL, between the DC Defenders and Seattle Dragons, at Audi Field in Washington, DC, on Saturday, February 8, at 2pm ET.

Meanwhile, ESPN will broadcast the championship game of the spring season American football league, on Sunday, April 26.

The XFL announced in May that it had reached multi-year broadcast agreements with ESPN and Fox. All the games will air on national television, with doubleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays. Twenty-five games will air on ABC or Fox, while the remainder will air on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2.

The XFL schedule – which was released on October 22 – also features two primetime Thursday night games in the final weeks of the regular season, which will be aired on Fox.

“If you think about football in this country, I think you’d certainly have to think about ABC and ESPN and Fox with what they do, so I think these are trusted broadcasters, they’ve broadcast literally hundreds of thousands of NFL games, major college games,” said XFL commissioner Oliver Luck. “So their talent that they’ll assign will be top-notch talent. So we think there’s never been quite honestly a startup league that’s had these kinds of windows, this kind of exposure.”

This is the second consecutive year that a second pro football league will debut in the United States. The Alliance of American Football folded after just eight weeks earlier this year.

The XFL is backed by WWE owner Vince McMahon, who has invested nearly $400m (€459m) in the venture. The first version of the XFL — a joint project between WWE and NBC — lasted just one season in 2001.