The XFL and USFL are in talks to merge the two spring leagues for 2024, according to Axois, and an announcement could come as early as next week.
The USFL, renamed the USFL, just completed its second season and has already begun preparations for the 2024 season. The XFL (in its third reincarnation after the 2001 and 2020 seasons) completed its first season last spring and also confirmed his plans for a 2024 season.
Both leagues currently have eight teams that have played a 10-week regular season with two playoff rounds culminating in a championship game. Both leagues also have similar rules that include an alternative to the onside kick, giving the scoring team a chance to keep the ball by converting a fourth down from deep in their own territory.
So what would happen in the event of a merger? Scheduling is one of the main differences between the two teams. The 2023 XFL season began on February 19 and concluded on May 13. The USFL began the 2023 season on April 15 and closed it with the Birmingham Stallions’ successful title defense on July 1.
Both leagues enjoyed steady viewership in 2023, with the USFL and XFL each surpassing 1.2 million viewers for their respective championship games. Both leagues have also benefited from successful partnerships with the NFL. Several former players from both leagues – including Cowboys All-Pro returner and USFL alum KaVontae Turpin – have been employed by NFL teams.
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If a merge were to happen, it seems like players would be in favor of it. J’Mar Smith, who led the Birmingham Stallions to their first title in 2022, said in April he would favorat the end of their respective seasons.
“That would be nice and what the fans want,” Smith said in a text message to CBS Sports. “Merging two professional spring leagues, champion against champion, to see the competition between the two leagues. … I think it should happen and it will happen soon!”
If the leagues merge, game broadcasts could be split between Fox (which currently has a deal with the USFL) and Disney, the XFL’s media partner. It’s unclear if NBC — which also has a broadcast deal with the USFL — will be involved in the future.
Asked about a possible merger, Fox representatives declined to comment.