The USFL and the XFL hold a large portion of the market individually as the largest spring football leagues in the United States. And there are now talks about the two leagues merging to form one league that could come sooner than most would probably imagine.
According to James Larson of USFLnewsroom.com, the XFL and the USFL are in “advance talks” on a potential merger that would potentially combine the two leagues.
Larson added that this merger could lead to an entirely new league name if it does ultimately go through, and that it could come as soon as the upcoming 2024 season.
Major development to watch closely. If the XFL-USFL merger goes through, it is extremely likely that we see an entirely new brand.
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) September 21, 2023
The USFL is the longer-standing sports league, which dates all the way back to its original iteration in the 1980s. On the other hand, the XFL is perhaps the bigger and more popular league since the league’s latest reboot for the 2022 season.
The leagues were nearly identical in viewership in the 2023 season, as the XFL averaged 602,073 viewers per game while the USFL averaged 604,175 per game.
The hope of course for both leagues is that a merger would lead to both dedicated fanbases combining their numbers in this new product. But obviously, that is far easier said than done…
Larsen also provided some information regarding how many teams would be included in this league should the merger go through. According to Larsen, it is likely that there will be fewer than 16 teams in a potential new league, meaning that either some USFL or XFL teams will end up being disbanded.
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.
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) September 20, 2023
Another thing worth monitoring in a potential merger is how the broadcasting rights for the new league would be shared. The USFL has been broadcast on both NBC and Fox for the past two seasons. The XFL has been on the Disney family of networks since it returned in 2022.
Neither the USFL nor XFL has commented on the potential merger just yet, but it seems like the wheels are at least in motion to make a potential merger happen.