The revived football startup league, XFL, is facing a huge blow to its new season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a news conference Friday, employees learned that they would all be laid off while the league suspends its operations. Employees will be paid through Sunday, but after that, their presence with the company is unknown. At this time, there were no discussions of when operations could restart.
“The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years,” the league said in a statement Friday.
The Vince McMahon-owned league, which previously ran for a single season in 2001, was set to return this year. The XFL just kicked-off with eight franchises and made it through five weeks of game play. The Houston Roughnecks were holding the reigns with 5-0, and games were slated to run through late April with a four-team playoff.
According to ESPN, XFL games drew in an average attendance of 18.614 fans with 2.08 million viewers per game on ESPN/ABC and 1 million via FOX Networks.
“We’ve said thank you before,” XFL organizers said in a tweet. “We’ll say thank you again. YOU are the reason the 2020 XFL season was so special. From the entire XFL family: thank you.”
The XFL follows suit of other major league teams including the MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS. While the NBA halted operations, the MLB hopes to resume games by May and play empty stadiums, if possible. The NFL, which has been in the clear so far, plans to move forward with their fall season as planned.