A new report claims that the two spring football leagues, the XFL and the USFL, are about to merge into one league.
Three sources familiar with the situation have told Axios the two leagues “are in advanced talks to merge.”
According to the report, “The merger would be structured as a merger of equals and would require regulatory approval.”
The combined league is hoping to announce its merger as early as this week and begin holding games together in the 2024 season.
One source claims game broadcasts of the combined league are likely to be split between USFL partner Fox and XFL partner Disney, with the USFL’s broadcast agreement with NBC possibly going by the wayside.
Axios reports that the USFL claimed to have been profitable in its first year, while the XFL lost $60 million.
Many wondered how the two leagues would co-exist with them both playing in the spring.
The XFL began its season on February 18th and finished with its championship game on May 13th.
The USFL, on the other hand, waited until April 15th to start its season and held its championship game on July 1st.
Both leagues had rather meager viewership numbers, each averaging around 600,000 viewers per game and cannibalized one another’s viewers when both leagues played on the same weekends.
The XFL barely outdrew the USFL, 1.4 million to 1.2 million, when it came to each league’s championship game.
The XFL is owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital Partners, while the USFL is owned by Fox Corp.
In June, Johnson tweeted that the XFL has “Big plans for ’24 season.”
A merger of the two leagues would certainly qualify, and if all teams are kept it would make it a 16 team league with franchises in Pittsburgh, Birmingham, New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia, Houston (two teams), Memphis, New Jersey, Arlington, Washington D.C., Orlando, San Antonio, Seattle, St. Louis, and Las Vegas.
“We will not comment on rumors and speculation,” the XFL told Axios in an emailed statement when asked about a possible merger. Fox did not comment.