XFL kickoff set for February 18, 2023

Photo courtesy: Dany Garcia on Instagram

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s new look XFL finally has a launch date.

Johnson’s business partner and league co-owner Dany Garcia posted pictures to her Instagram of league meetings on Thursday and included a blatant backdrop with a countdown to the 2023 XFL season.

According to the pictures, the twice-revived league will return to the field in exactly 502 days, with kickoff scheduled for February 18. Training camps will begin a month prior in January, while player evaluation combines are slated for June of 2022.

The most recent incarnation of the XFL lasted just five games before the COVID-19 pandemic put their season on hold, which led to Vince McMahon filing for bankruptcy and selling. Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital were selected as the winning bidders last August for all of the assets of Alpha Entertainment LLC, the parent company of the XFL. It cost $15 million and the goal is to make the XFL a stable league in the future.

In March, the owners from both the CFL and XFL had agreed to work together to identify opportunities to innovate and grow the game of football. The Rock stated at the time he was excited for the ‘unique opportunity’ the CFL and XFL ‘can potentially create together,’ but talks eventually broke down.

The new XFL has been slowly building towards their return and will present legitimate competition to the CFL as early as next year, though commissioner Randy Ambrosie has left the door open for cooperation down the line. Whether the upstart league becomes viable enough to force that issue remains a much different question.