USFL and XFL Talk Merger for 2024 Season
We are in the midst of football season. The NFL is heading toward week 3; college football is breaking all sorts of TV records, and now we have major news about the two Spring Football Leagues. There are reports that the XFL and USFL are talking about a merger for next spring.
According to AXIOS, which broke the story, the two spring leagues’ which have competed against one another this past Spring are in advanced talks to merge.
From a business standpoint, it looks like a shrewd move for both leagues. The Axios story explains that the USFL was profitable, while the XFL was staggering financially after it’s first season under the leadership of pro-wrestler/action movie actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Johnson, who partnered with Dany Garcia and Red Bird Capital reportedly lost around $60 million in the league this past Spring, according to Forbes. Disney has also been an investor in the football venture with the XFL.
Viewership for both league’s this past Spring and early Summer was not great. The USFL championship drew only 1.2 million eyeballs, while the XFL title game drew a slightly better 1.4 million.
The USFL Return
The USFL which first came into existence in the mid-1980’s, jumpstarted the careers of the likes of Jim Kelly and Hershel Walker back in the day. However it quickly went belly-up by 1985. Over the years, fascination over the League’s story helped spur its return. By 2021, Fox Sports and former Dallas Cowboys fullback Darrell “Moose” Johnston, spearheaded the USFL return in 2022.
With eight teams, including the New Jersey Generals, based out of Birmingham, Alabama in 2022, the league expanded to hub cities this past season. The Generals shared Tom Benson Field in Canton, Ohio with the Pittsburgh Maulers.
XFL: Stop and Go
Meanwhile the XFL has seen it’s starts and stops over the years. After its initial venture as an arm of WWE in 2001, the League returned briefly in 2020 before folding at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rock and his partners bought the League from WWE, and brought it back into existence this past Spring.