XFL, USFL in advanced merger talks, per report

By Kevin Kelley -

The XFL and USFL are in advanced talks to merge their respective leagues, according to a report by Axios on Tuesday.

Both the XFL and USFL are professional football leagues that play in the spring following the conclusion of the NFL season. The XFL is currently owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital, while the USFL is owned by Fox Corporation.

The original XFL was a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and NBC and was led by Vince McMahon. The league lasted only one season in 2001.

McMahon and Alpha Entertainment announced a new version of the XFL that debuted in 2020, but the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league later went into bankruptcy and was purchased by Johnson, Garcia, and RedBird for $15 million.

The XFL completed its first full season in 2023, with the Arlington Renegades winning the inaugural XFL Championship.

The original USFL played for three seasons from 1983 through 1985 during the spring/summer and planned a 1986 season in the fall directly opposite the NFL, but the league later ceased operations.

Fox Corporation relaunched the USFL in the spring of 2022 and has played two full seasons. The Birmingham Stallions won both USFL Championship games in 2022 and 2023.

While the new XFL and USFL have had some success with fans, both leagues are averaging about 600,000 viewers per game. The USFL’s most recent championship game drew 1.2 million viewers, while the XFL’s championship game eclipsed that with 1.4 million viewers, per Axios.

If the two leagues are combined, which seems to be the best path forward for the future of spring football, the report indicates that broadcasts would be split between Disney (ABC, ESPN, etc.) and FOX.

An announcement of the XFL-USFL merger could come as early as this week, per Axios.

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Comments (3)

This is really no surprise since they operate in a similar manner, have had some success inspite of spring football never succeeding long term at all.

I would suspect Fox would be the dominant partner with deeper pockets after the merger but if broadcast rights are with ESPN / ABC as well that would help things.

Personally I prefer watching live football to almost all other sports and I have watched some of both the XFL and USFL and I hope they succeed and give me an option to Pro Golf, Soccer, and Pro Bowling on TV.

Would all 16 teams stay around or a lower number.

Best spring football news in decades. Take the successful venues and build on those.
USFL is the better brand… but the XFL did better getting into venues… Looking forward to perhaps a 12 team result for next year….

Definitely Birmingham, Memphis, St Louis, San Antonio, DC, Seattle, Arlington, Pittsburgh, Houston, Detroit, and two more… maybe Philadelphia and an Ohio team set in Canton to keep and build the HoF tie ins.