Oliver Luck, a former executive at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), has been named as the first commissioner and chief executive of the XFL, the new football league recently launched by WWE founder Vince McMahon.
Luck, 58, is father to Andrew Luck, the quarterback for the National Football League’s (NFL) Indianapolis Colts. The executive leaves his role at the NCAA, where he oversaw the organisation’s regulatory functions, to move to the XFL’s headquarters in Connecticut.
Luck’s previous experience also includes a spell as president of NFL Europe and as the chief executive of the Houston Sports Authority, where he played a key role in bringing the Texans to the city as an NFL expansion team in 2002. He also played quarterback for the Houston Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans.
“The XFL will be a labour of love as I get to combine my experiences as a player and executive,” said Luck, speaking to ESPN. “I'm thrilled to have this unique opportunity to reimagine the game that has been a constant in my life for 40 years.”
McMahon and US broadcaster NBC first launched the XFL in 2001, but it lasted just a single season before folding. Luck says the new version, which was unveiled in January, will be more of a success.
“I always felt there was an opportunity for another pro league as long as it had the key ingredients, and I found all those ingredients present in the new XFL,” he said. “There was the leadership and vision from Vince [McMahon] who is a tremendous entrepreneur with a solid track record and there is a potential to have good quality football if it is well capitalised, which of course it is.”
"We're focused on what we think is a solid business plan with a solid runway and a solid timeline. Our ultimate goal is to make this all work having high quality football by 2020 and that remains paramount. Everything is going to be different [than 2001]."
"Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimagining the game of football," added McMahon, the XFL's founder and chairman. “His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL.”