XFL suspends operations, lays off employees

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Houston Roughnecks running back James Butler runs with the ball during an XFL game against the Tampa Bay Vipers at Raymond James Stadium in February. The Roughnecks beat the Vipers 34-27. (Kim Hukari/Image of Sport via AP)

Houston Roughnecks running back James Butler runs with the ball during an XFL game against the Tampa Bay Vipers at Raymond James Stadium in February. The Roughnecks beat the Vipers 34-27. (Kim Hukari/Image of Sport via AP)

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The XFL has suspended operations and laid off its employees.

XFL workers were told of the layoffs during an in-house conference call Friday.

After canceling the remainder of its season last month because of the coronavirus pandemic, but promising to be back in 2021, the upstart league backed by WWE has left its future in doubt.

League executives said they expected to be back next year soon after canceling their games. The XFL has eight franchises and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and Fox.

But spring football is a difficult challenge, as the Alliance of American Football found out in 2019, not lasting a full season.

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