The world of spring football exploded into a frenzy on Tuesday morning. It was reported by Axios and Sportico that both the USFL and XFL are in serious discussions to merge, potentially before the 2024 seasons begin.
The XFL and USFL are in advanced talks to merge, per @axios.
While the USFL and XFL have both declined to comment so far on this developing story, there are several details making themselves known through our sources. This merger – if it goes through – will dramatically change the landscape of spring football forever.
We have confirmed that a new name is certainly on the table. No official decision has been made yet – but, it has been made clear from multiple league sources that a new brand and logo are in the works behind the scenes.
BREAKING: The #USFL and #XFL are currently pursuing a new league name in regards to their merger discussions, confirmed by multiple sources.
Major development to watch closely. If the XFL-USFL merger goes through, it is extremely likely that we see an entirely new brand.
It will be quite intriguing to watch all of this unfold. The USFL and XFL are both established brands at the moment. Of course, the USFL has a rich history from the original iteration in the 1980’s, something the league leaned into during season two.
On the other hand, the XFL has arguably been the more recognizable brand in the 21st century, simply due to the major waves they made back in 2001 with Vince McMahon at the helm.
Something to watch: the National Spring Football League Enterprises Co, LLC, something that FOX Sports currently owns. The NSFL is the subsidiary that owns the USFL brands. If the organizations head in towards new branding, the NSFL is a potential name that could be utilized.
At the same time, just because the leagues are “pursuing” a name change, does not mean that it is official. We could still see the USFL and/or XFL branding remain, it all depends on what comes of the meetings being held between the entities right now.
Less Than 16 Teams
Unfortunately, it has been made evident that not all 16 teams will be making the final cut. Again – if this merger actually goes through – we are likely looking at a 10-12 team league.
Developing: Regarding a USFL-XFL merger, it is likely that we do not see all 16 teams in action, per source.
Hearing that organizations without venues currently secured are in hot water. Something to keep a close eye on, more details coming soon.
This begs to ask the question: which teams are safe? From what we are gathering, organizations who have venues secured are set to stick. However, teams without home venues already secured could be on the chopping block.
If this is the case, the following #USFL & #XFL teams could be on the chopping block:
Houston (Gamblers or Roughnecks) NJ Generals NO Breakers Philly Stars Pitt Maulers LV Vipers
*Canton, OH is secured **Ford Field negotiations are underway ***Rice deal is almost finalized https://t.co/9nuK8JHAk3
Arlington Renegades DC Defenders Orlando Guardians San Antonio Brahmas Seattle Sea Dragons St. Louis Battlehawks
The Houston Roughnecks are in limbo right now. It was recently reported that the team would be moving to Rice Stadium for the 2024 season, but that could change depending on what merger talks look like.
Developing: The @XFLRoughnecks are likely set to move to Rice Stadium for the 2024 #XFL season, per source.
The Houston Roughnecks played at TDECU in 2023, which was a carryover from the league's deal with the venue in 2020. Barring a setback, Rice will be their new home.
In addition, the Vegas Vipers announced that they would not be returning to Cashman Field for the 2024 XFL season. We have confirmed that the entire Vegas front office was let go, which means they have no plans to return to the city.
Breaking: The @XFLVipers have confirmed that they will NOT be returning to Cashman Field for the 2024 #XFL season.
With this in mind, the Vipers could get scratched altogether. Recently, it was rumored that Nashville, Tempe, and Portland were in play. Since a new location has not been announced, the leagues could move away from the franchise entirely.
USFL Teams Secured:
Birmingham Stallions Memphis Showboats
The Michigan Panthers aren’t fully secured yet, as Ford Field is not locked in for 2024. It seems like the USFL and Ford Field were in the middle of counter offers, but that is now being interrupted with the current situation at hand.
One USFL team who could remain, despite not having a venue, is the Houston Gamblers. Sources have indicated that the Gamblers iconic branding could lead to its survival, replacing the Roughnecks of the XFL.
That leaves four USFL teams with uncertain futures:
New Jersey Generals New Orleans Breakers Philadelphia Stars Pittsburgh Maulers
The interesting piece to consider: Canton is secured for the 2024 season. Canton will be getting a team, it is simply a matter of who. Any team without a venue could end up in Canton – that even includes the Vegas Vipers.
Whether or not this would be a full rebranding to a Canton-centric team, or simply the city serving as a hub is unknown at this point in time. Regardless, we know spring football will be played there in 2024 in some capacity.
Update: Additionally, reports have surfaced that FOX/USFL were in close talks to a couple of facilities in the New Orleans area (i.e. The Shrine, Tulane). Where those conversations currently sit amongst the merger discussions is unknown.
I have been told very recently that the league has been in talks with the New Orleans area in terms of landing a stadium deal and talks are still ongoing amidst merger talks. https://t.co/z5qeOGD8bj
Another piece to the puzzle: what happens to the current broadcast partners each league has? Right now, the XFL is partnered with Disney, having their games air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and FX.
The USFL has been with FOX and NBC networks the past two years, which includes: FOX, NBC, FS1, FS2, and USA Network.
If a merger goes down, we can expect there to be an emphasis on the bigger networks (OTA) seeing more action. We are hearing that cable might be eliminated altogether, with the exception of ESPN.
At the end of the day, there are so many variables which are currently unknown. Axios is reporting that the merger will be a 50-50 deal, but that may not be entirely true. We do know that it was Redbird Capital – the XFL’s investment group – who initiated talks with FOX Sports back in July.
Developing: Per source, hearing that it was Redbird Capital – on the XFL's side of things – who originally initiated internal discussions with the USFL.
Something to take into consideration regarding a potential #USFL & #XFL merger.
In addition, the XFL was in rough financial waters after just one season. As we reported back in June, the league likely lost more than the reported $60 million figure.
We are expecting to hear more as the week continues. An announcement is certainly possible by the end of the week, but time will tell. With this situation being so fluid, there is too much up in the air to say that anything is concrete yet.
Regardless, stay tuned, folks. The world of spring football never ceases to bring all sorts of new and exciting ventures to its fans.
What are your thoughts on a USFL-XFL merger? What structure would you like to see the new league implement? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!