The XFL and the CFL (Canadian Football League) are exploring a future partnership together, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
The XFL, which ended their 2020 season due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, was later purchased by The Rock and Redbird Capital for $15 million.
Canadian Football League action in 2020 was scheduled to begin last May, but the league delayed the start and ultimately canceled the season altogether after they were unable to obtain funding from the Canadian government.
Per the ESPN report, the two leagues are “discussing options for collaboration as they plan their returns to the field” and talks between the two are in the “early stages.”
Shortly after the report, both leagues issued statements on the potential collaboration.
“Since we first acquired the XFL, we have focused on identifying partners who share our vision and values on and off the field,” XFL Chairwoman and Owner Dany Garcia said. “A vision filled with opportunity, innovation and the highest level of entertainment value for the benefit of our athletes, fans and communities. The CFL has expressed that similar sentiment and jointly we recognize a great opportunity to build exciting innovative football experiences that make the most of each league’s unique strengths. I look forward to our continued discussions and we will update the sports community as we have more to share.”
“We are honored and excited to be in discussions with the CFL,” XFL President and CEO Jeffrey Pollack said. “It’s clear through our early conversations that we share a passion for football, an expansive sense of possibility, and a deep desire to create more opportunity for players and fans across North America and around the world. Blending the CFL’s rich heritage with our fresh thinking, and the unique reach and experience of our ownership, could be transformative for the game. We look forward to learning more about what’s possible together with the CFL and where our shared passion takes us.”
“Canada has an exciting game and devoted fans, and our discussion with the XFL provides a tremendous opportunity to build on that strong foundation,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said. “We look forward to exploring how we might work with one of the most innovative sports brands in the world to grow the game, engage fans in new ways, and reach new audiences. We look forward to seeing what possibilities our discussions might uncover, and to sharing those with our fans as the process unfolds.”
As a result of the conversations, the XFL announced that the 2022 season is “…on hold pending the outcome of our conversations with the CFL.”
The 2021 CFL preseason is scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 23 with the BC Lions visiting the Calgary Stampeders. Regular-season CFL action kicks off on Thursday, June 10 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The 21-week CFL schedule concludes on Saturday, Oct. 30. The CFL Playoffs begin the following week, and the 108th Grey Cup is set for Sunday, Nov. 21 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.