Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

It was announced on Tuesday at Disney Upfront, that the XFL has reached a multi-year agreement with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN.

The multi-year agreement is from 2023 to 2027. Each season’s 43 games will air on ABC, ESPN networks, and FX.

The 2023 season will kick off on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Below is the full press release:

NEW YORK – May 17, 2022 – The XFL today announced a new, global multi-year agreement with The Walt Disney Company (“TWDC”) and ESPN, which includes exclusive broadcast rights for all gameday content, tentpole events and more, for its upcoming 2023 season through 2027. Each season, all 43 games (40 regular season games, two playoffs, one championship) will be featured on a combination of ABC, ESPN networks and FX. Additionally, the agreement includes exclusive content rights across TWDC and ESPN’s digital, social and direct-to-consumer outlets such as ESPN+. The XFL is excited to officially announce its 2023 season will kick off on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

The announcement was revealed today at the Disney Upfront, where XFL owners Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson were in attendance and presented the news.

“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,” said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman of the XFL. “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.”

“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “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.”

Dwayne Johnson added, “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. 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. Through the combined power of Disney, ESPN and the XFL, together we will create a new powerhouse on the sports calendar and bring a dynamic game of football to fans everywhere. Time to ball out.”

Gerry Cardinale said, “With today’s announcement, the XFL has launched a truly innovative partnership with The Walt Disney Company and its world-class platforms across media, culture, sports and entertainment.  It is a privilege to join forces with the incredibly talented team at Disney and ESPN and bring Dany and Dwayne’s vision for world-class football and live event entertainment to our fans and players.”

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As we’ve noted, the XFL went into bankruptcy after the COVID-19 pandemic brought an early end to their return season in the spring of 2020. WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon had sold the league to The Rock, along with business partners Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital in August of 2020, for $15 million.


The search is underway to find the star of Disney’s upcoming movie about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Disney posted a casting call looking for actors to play the Milwaukee Bucks forward at ages 13-15 and 15-18 in the film, titled “Greek Freak,” with no previous acting experience required. Production is slated to begin later this year, according to Sportando.

“Greek Freak” is based on the story of Giannis and his older brother Thanasis, who also plays for the Bucks. It “recounts their rise, with the help of their family, from undocumented Nigerian immigrants living in Greece to basketball superstars in America.” The film will reportedly be released on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.

As first reported by the Mat Men Pro Wrestling podcast (later confirmed by Pro Wrestling Sheet), Sasha Banks filmed scenes for season two of The Mandalorian.

The report didn’t say which character she would play, nor the size of her upcoming role. Season two is scheduled to premiere in October.

Season one of The Mandalorian is currently steaming on Disney+.

Banks has been out of action with an ankle injury. Her last WWE TV match was on January 3.

“The Mighty Ducks” reboot is reportedly moving forward.

A series based on the 1990s hockey movie franchise is being developed for Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, with production expected to begin February in Vancouver, according to Discussing Film. Rumors of a reboot first surfaced in January 2018.

The new series will reportedly center around a 13-year-old boy who gets cut from the junior division Mighty Ducks team. The boy and his mother then start their own squad by finding other players, a coach, and somewhere to play.

“The Mighty Ducks” was released in 1992 and was followed by two sequels and an animated television series. Several members of the original cast reunited for a ceremonial puck drop at a game between the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks last season.

The XFL will be making its re-debut under two major networks. A press release was sent out stating that FOX Sports and Disney will be the main distributors of the upcoming season. Games will be broadcasted on ABC, FOX, ESPN, ESPN 2 and FS1. 

“We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league’s inaugural season,” said ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus. 

“Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry’s most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league. We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”

“We welcome the XFL to the FOX Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports CEO & Executive Producer. “Football is in FOX Sports’ DNA and a key component of our programming strategy. Alongside Oliver Luck and his incredible team, we’re excited for the debut of the XFL on FOX Sports.”

The XFL’s first season since 2001 will start on February 8, 2020, six days after Super Bowl LIV. Two games will be broadcasted that day, the first one being on ABC and the night game on FOX. The playoffs will be in April, with FOX hosting a game on the 18th and ESPN hosting one on the 19th. The XFL Championship game is scheduled for April 26 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. NBC was the home of the XFL in its original incarnation, with UPN and TNN as weekend partners. 

Both ESPN and FOX will be handling the marketing aspect of the league. There are eight total teams to start the XFL off, from California to New York. In addition to games, programming related to the XFL on each station will be announced in the future. 

“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and FOX Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” stated XFL Founder and Chairman Vince McMahon. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”

Alexa Bliss seems to have found her niche as a heel on WWE television, but when she first arrived in NXT her character was much different and bordered on fantasy. She recently spoke to Not Sam Wrestling about her transformation from fairy princess to the Five Feet Of Fury, but in reality her personality is much more akin to a Disney princess than a villain.

“So that was me, okay? That’s the thing!” Bliss exclaimed when speaking about her NXT babyface character. “I love all things Disney and it was my idea to throw glitter and wear a tutu and if you ever look back at my first tutu it went down to my knees, it was really embarrassing.”

Bliss realized she was targeting young Disney fans with her gimmick and that was her intention. She wanted to portray a character for children who watched NXT as she continued telling a story about how she made a bold comment during her initial interview with WWE that should have been a huge clue that she wanted to bring a little Magic Kingdom to the WWE Performance Center.

“My tryout — I was asked why I wanted to be in WWE,” Bliss said. “Mind you my tryout, I had submitted a video. I was apparently the only person who submitted my own video to get the tryout and it was a casting call so there were all these models walking around and I texted my mom like, ‘Well I’m not making it.’ I texted my mom and I was like, ‘I’m five foot, these girls are Hollywood models walking around.’ They told us to do something to make us stand out and I remember thinking of American Idol people making themselves look like idiots so I wasn’t gonna do that.

“So I was asked why I wanted to be in WWE and just to get the attention — because I was a fan too, you know what I mean? Like I walked in and I saw Triple H and I said, ‘Oh my god do you know you’re Triple H?!’ Oh that was me — totally me. I did that.

“I remember these other girls in the tryout who walked in and didn’t know who he was and I almost had a heart attack — ‘Oh my god, you’re Triple H! Did you know you’re Triple H and you’re in the same room as me?!’… very embarrassing, but they asked me why I wanted to be in WWE. And to stand out I said, ‘I really want to be Tinker Bell at Disney and I’m hoping this gets my foot in the door.'”

Bliss said the joke caught their attention and caused them to look at her, but what really captured their interest was how Bliss revealed her lifelong WWE fandom.

The first few times Bliss appeared on NXT television, she portrayed a happy fairy that blew glitter at the camera and her opponent. She ended up getting her wish of playing a character like Tinker Bell, but she was briefly banned from using glitter due to the messiness a gimmick like that carries with it.

“When I was ‘Glitter Glitz’ I pitched for the whole room to go blue like Rey Mysterio,” Bliss revealed, “they were like, ‘no.’ I was like, ‘what if it rained glitter?’ they were like, ‘no.’ Actually, I got banned from using glitter for a little bit because the match after me Tyler Breeze had glitter all over his back.

“They made me wear little gloves on my hands to blow the glitter and take them off, but they were socks because I never had gloves so I had to cut socks — I’m thrifty.”

Bliss’ arrival on the main roster as part of the 2016 WWE Draft surprised several fans, but she soon showed SmackDown Live that she had more ability than what was shown on NXT’s weekly television show. She acknowledged the fact that although she was an underwhelming draft pick, she had confidence in her promo abilities to carry her through. Bliss became much more comfortable cutting her teeth on the main roster in time as she realized that she belonged on WWE’s main roster.

“I think during the draft,” Bliss revealed when discussing at what point she started to feel comfortable in the ring. “It wasn’t like, ‘This is where I belong.’ It was like, ‘I gotta show this is where I belong.’

“Because in NXT, obviously, I wasn’t a 4 Horsewoman, I wasn’t something that people were excited to see. But, it’s true! I’ll admit that! You know what I mean? I was a very underwhelming draft pick, I was. I remember my first promo on SmackDown, it was during the Draft I remember thinking, ‘Okay if there’s one thing I can do it is somewhat speak on a microphone and if that’s gonna set me aside’ — because we had everyone drafted at the same time. So what’s gonna separate you from everyone else? I was like, ‘okay I can kinda talk some crap.’

“Then my first promo had a word like ‘Blissertation’ and I went, ‘What the hell is this?’ I was like, ‘This is my moment and I’m gonna mess up?’ It was that moment when I was in Gorilla [Position] and I was standing back there and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m not gonna lie people are not excited to see me here so I gotta come in under the radar and kick down the door and show that I deserve to be here.’ I wasn’t an indie wrestler, I was never a 4 Horsewoman, I was never in a TakeOvermatch, I never held a title… I was a manager and so I had to show that I deserve to be here and if they’re not gonna see it I’m gonna force them to see it.”

Bliss was a part of Triple H’s WrestleMania 30 entrance as she wore a mask alongside other future main roster Superstars like Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. Her first WrestleMania as a competitor came three years later and saw her defending the SmackDown Women’s Title against any available woman on the roster, but it was unexpected pyrotechnics during her entrance that really caught Little Miss Bliss’ attention.

“I would say my favorite WrestleMania, in general, was 30, but in my career, it was last year,” Bliss said. “Because I got to do that really cool entrance. That was so cool. I was terrified, but it was really cool. I loved last year’s WrestleManiabecause it was in Orlando and my family got to be there.

“It was just a lot of fun. Like I didn’t know in Orlando’s WrestleMania, I didn’t know I had pyro. You can see it on film. So it was so funny because all of the other girls got pyro and I’m like, ‘that’s crazy, they get pyro! Do we get pyro?’ The other girls were like, ‘no I don’t think we get pyro.’ And I walk out and there’s pyro and I jump because no one told me that I was gonna have fireworks going off behind me. It was a good surprise but you see me jump about a foot on the entrance.”

Ted DiBiase recently spoke to Sky Sports on WWE’s product during the Attitude Era today’s more family-friendly presentation. Here are some of the highlights:

The Attitude Era:

“Everybody’s talking about how it’s a PG program now and I think that’s great. I was not a big fan of the Attitude Era. Some of the things they did were very good and very funny but I was never a fan of the sleazy stuff.”

The increase in popularity with family-friendly entertainment:

“I was telling someone not long ago that the number one attraction in our country in terms of entertainment is Disneyland, and that’s all family-friendly. I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said they loved the show years ago, but they couldn’t watch it with their own kids. That’s because of the sleaze and I couldn’t agree more. Nobody’s happier than I am that it’s PG. … Some of the top grossing movies now are children’s animated features, they’re making more money than action movies. And you’d never find a Hollywood A-lister years ago doing voice-overs for those films and they do now. You know why? Because everybody’s got a price.”

You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

Marc-Andre Fleury can thank his daughters for their instrumental part in helping their dad become the first-ever winner of the Save Streak competition at this year’s NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

The Vegas Golden Knights netminder put together a run of 14 consecutive saves to top Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. The kicker in it all was each goalie got to select the music to be played during their session between the pipes, and for Fleury, his pick caught some off guard: “Let it Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”


“I thought the title “Let It Go” was very soothing for goalies,” Fleury said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s the All-Star Game. You just have to let it go. I thought I was going to get lit up, so I just had to let it go.”

Fleury admitted he’s a fan of the movie thanks to his daughters and now hopes the Golden Knights will consider playing the tune during shootouts after Saturday’s success.

“I’m going to ask Vegas to put it on when we do shootouts,” Fleury said. “Just be relaxed.”

BURBANK, Calif. – The man guiding the effort to build an NFL stadium near Los Angeles for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers says time is running short to get a deal done for the 2016 season.

Disney CEO Bob Iger told reporters Thursday ”there is not much leeway” and teams will be unable to move for the 2016 season if a decision is not made shortly.

NFL owners plan to meet again next month to consider a possible move to the LA market, which has lacked a team since the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is pushing a rival project in nearby Inglewood.

Iger is serving as a non-executive chairman of the joint venture planning the $1.8 billion Chargers-Raiders stadium in Carson.