Details Emerging Regarding A Potential USFL-XFL Merger

Details Emerging Regarding A Potential USFL-XFL Merger

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.

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.

Name Change

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.

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.

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.

XFL Teams Secured:

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.

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.

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.

Broadcast Adjustment

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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!

Fubo
  1. I would like to see a 12 team league with three divisions (East, Central, West) with a 14 games season. Each team could play the other teams in their division twice and all other teams once. Here’s an idea for which teams would be in the league (which preferably would be the USFL not XFL).

    East Division: Michigan Panthers, Canton Maulers, D.C. Defenders, Orlando Renegades (moved from Arlington and with new uniforms).

    Central Division: St. Louis BattleHawks, Memphis Showboats, Birmingham Stallions, Kentucky Colonels (in Louisville replacing the New Jersey Generals).

    West Division: Oklahoma Outlaws (this time in OKC), San Antonio Bulls (using the old Jacksonville Bullls branding), Houston Gamblers, Fort Worth Wranglers (Fort Worth never gets a team, maybe they could use TCU’s stadium).

  2. I could see a 14 team league. The seven XFL teams minus the Vipers. The USFL would retain the Stallions, Showboats and Panthers in their current venues. Secure venues for the Breakers and Generals in their home markets. Move the Stars to Canton since it’s the home of the Hall of Fame and move the Gamblers to Oklahoma and resurrect the Outlaws.

  3. The problem with cutting NY,NJ and both PA teams is you loose a huge market if there are no local teams what is the draw to keep the viewers in this Market. I understand business is business but loosing millions of supporters is not the way to build a league. If you have an east Division you need some teams with clot and support. Another issue check the records on support for teams in Fl then check NJ and Pa you will find FL looses Pa teams and NY teams are heavily supported but the teams need to play local not in a hub miles away were the teams can not be supported and successful. Just a thought

  4. I think 12 teams is manageable. By all accounts the XFL was facing financial difficulties. The Johnson camp seemed committed to Spring Football and in order to move forward their desire to merge was part of a cost cutting exercise. I just hope they scrap the hub concept, I think it makes it hard to develop a loyal fan base. I’ve always said one shouldn’t have to travel to another state to see a home game.

  5. As a St. Louis Battlehawks season ticket holder…it is disappointing to hear the XFL lost money…every Battlehawks game has been sold out and most if not all season ticket holders have paid in full for next year. I like the idea of forming a league with the successful teams from both leagues…after all the owners must make money to keep the product viable.

  6. Would love to see a 12 team league. Six teams per conference. X conference and US conference. 16 game schedule. Top two from each conference advance to post season play.

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