WWE chief Vince McMahon has sold £75m worth of shares in the wrestling entertainment company to fund the creation of a new American football league.
Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed McMahon sold 3.34m shares in WWE which will be used to fund a separate company – Alpha Entertainment – that is exploring "investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football".
McMahon is reportedly interested in reprising the XFL, the professional American football league he launched in 2001 which sold itself as being more violent and beholden to fewer rules than the NFL.
The joint business venture between WWE and US TV company NBC last just one season after the two firms only made back 30 per cent of their initial $100m investment.
Yet despite the growth of the number of NFL teams and the now-widely recognised risk of brain damage the already rough sport carries, there are a number of signs that McMahon is plotting a comeback for the extreme sport.
Alpha Entertainment, McMahon's company, applied for a number of XFL trademarks with the US Trademark and Patent Office earlier this month.
Another McMahon company, VKM Ventures, has also reportedly filed trademarks for UFL, United Football League, and "For the Love of Football".
The NFL has been beset this season with falling TV audiences and alienated conservative fans who have been angered by the numerous protests during the national anthem at matches.
McMahon is a long-time friend of President Donald Trump who has publicly criticised the protesting players and the NFL itself.
In a documentary about the XFL broadcast in the US earlier this year, McMahon was asked if he ever considers bringing back the controversial league.
“Yes, I do," he said.
“I don’t know what it would be. I don’t know if it’s going to be another XFL or what it may be or how different I would make it.
"It seems like in some way it would tie in either with the NFL itself or the owners.”
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