Reports have surfaced that executives for the USFL and XFL are in ongoing discussions regarding a potential merger starting as early as the spring of 2024.
This is the second time that XFL ownership has entertained the idea of a merger with another pro football league. Prior to the XFL’s return in 2023, CEO Dwayne Johnson was pursuing a merger with the Canadian Football League.
Ultimately, those discussions failed, and now the Rock appears to be entertaining a merger with the USFL but why?
Why The XFL USFL Merger Makes Sense
It is no secret that both spring football leagues are operating in the red, and it could be years before either is routinely profitable. Attendance is spotty between individual markets, and television ratings have been poor.
It also doesn’t help that both leagues are competing directly against one another. Their respective 2023 seasons overlapped by a few weeks and served to muddy the marketplace for both the XFL and USFL.
Those who are familiar with each brand know that they’ve failed in the past. With longevity in question, viewers aren’t all in with their support, and why should they be? Either of these leagues could dissolve right now without much fanfare.
Combining the two leagues removes this brand confusion and has the potential to inspire fans to buy in, as the unison indicates at least some solidarity going forth.
Why The USFL XFL Merger Won’t Work
Although each league contains eight franchises, the locations of these teams are bunched too closely together in some regions. Here is the list of teams and markets for each league.
With two existing franchises in Houston, Texas, the newly formed league would need to relocate one of them. Out of the potential sixteen teams, four of them would reside in TX.
In the case of the USFL and the XFL, brand familiarity could be a bad thing. Combining both leagues under a solitary, pre-existing brand could have a negative impact.
There’s also the chance that a new entity could sour the market, as the appetite for spring football is already in question.
Reports suggest that an announcement regarding the merger could be made as soon as this week.
Source – Axios