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UPDATED: New Details on XFL/USFL Merger

The proposed merger of the USFL and XFL, plans for which were originally announced two months ago, received regulatory clearance today from federal antitrust authorities, paving the way for the two spring leagues to join forces.

After receiving regulatory approval, the leagues issued a statement indicating that the newly combined entity would begin its 2024 season exactly four months from today:

“We are pleased to have completed the antitrust review process in connection with the proposed merger of the XFL and USFL and intend to play a combined season this spring kicking off on Saturday, March 30. We are now finalizing terms of the definitive agreement and will share more about this new League in the coming weeks.”

The two leagues currently have eight teams apiece. It’s not yet clear how many of those 16 teams will be retained in the combined league, nor is it clear what the new league will be called. Pro Football Newsroom reporter James Larsen is reporting that the new circuit will be called the United Football League (UFL) and will have eight teams, but that hasn’t yet been confirmed by USFL or XFL personnel.

Long-memoried students of quixotic alternate pro football leagues may recall that there was another UFL that existed from 2009 through 2012. The new UFL (if that’s what it ends up being called), formed by combining the USFL and XFL, has no connection to the old UFL. Got that?

The XFL’s uniforms were made by Under Armour and the USFL’s by Ripon Athletic. It’s not yet clear who the new league’s outfitter will be.

Update: Multiple reports are now indicating that the merged league will indeed have just eight teams.

(My thanks to Marcus Hall for bringing James Larsen’s tweet to my attention.)

Comments (29)

    Missed opportunity to name the combined using all of the letters from the old leagues: SUXFL

    I understand it is a merger, but technically this is RIP for a league called XFL once again for the 3rd time.

    If the football gods are kind, they’ll keep and continue to use the USFL names, uniforms, logos, &c.

    There are only 10 teams in the combined league who had established home stadiums at the end of their respective seasons:

    XFL: DC, Seattle, St. Louis, Arlington, Houston, Orlando, San Antonio
    USFL: Michigan, Birmingham, Memphis

    If only 8 teams will be in the combined league, this will be the pool to draw from. I’d probably cut Seattle and Michigan, which would a) cut down on travel expenses for the rest of the league, and b) reduce reliance on using NFL stadiums. XFL teams could either keep their branding, or take on an equivalent USFL name (such as DC Defenders = Washington Federals, Houston Roughnecks = Houston Gamblers).

    Nothing stupider than the “Arlington” Renegades having a D in their logo when they had to change the team name from Dallas. Here’s hoping that travesty is behind us.

    The original USFL was well conceived and featured quality players and good football; the XFL only needed two weeks to demonstrate it was a joke. I’d call it the NewSFL and use as many of the 1980s team identities as possible.

    I don’t know how the USFL survives? I live 90 miles west of Memphis. I looked at buying tickets. They were pretty cheap. But, when I looked at the seating chart, they only let you sit on one side of the Liberty Bowl (excuse me, Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium). Guess, they wanted as many fans available for the camera angle. When I watched a few games. Most of the seats were not sold. Think 15,000 fans were the most for one game. They did sell a lot of merch. Just about all the fans were dressed in some kind of Showboats gear. May try to go and catch a game IF Memphis is kept as one of the teams.

    Should be much better than watching the Memphis Mad Dogs. The field configuration of a CFL field in the very tight field settings for the Liberty Bowl (Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium).

    Missed opportunity to keep the two brands inside the UFL…
    The X and the US Conferences….then a United Bowl….eh?

    As a fan of both leagues, I’d love for them to just merge the way the NFL/AFL did, keeping their individual identities and playing a Flint Megabowl to conclude each season.

    According to the Detroit Free Press story about the Michigan Panthers surviving the merger:


    “Joining the Panthers in the new league will be the USFL’s teams in Birmingham (which won both the 2022 and 2023 titles), Houston (another legacy team) and Memphis (only in the league in 2023). The XFL will contribute the Arlington Renegades (the Texas squad which won that league’s 2023 title), the DC Defenders (the 2023 runners-up), the San Antonio Brahmas and the St. Louis BattleHawks.”

    Merged league with 12 teams would make more sense to me (6 XFL / 6 USFL)
    8 teams seems like going back to square one unless the plan is to expand for year 2.

    Yep, I thought the whole point of the merger WAS expansion….
    Kinda like Coke and Pepsi merging, then axing one or the other…

    Except Coke and Pepsi are giant, successful companies in an enormous market, while these two leagues are small, not-very-successful operators in a small market.

    This is more like organ donation. “We’ve been in a car crash. If we don’t do anything, we’re both going to die, but one of us can survive if the other one donates its organs.”

    So now one of them can live (but may still die eventually from further complications).

    It will all fail eventually, even if the baseball attendance in spring numbers are going down. Most people want to watch football in the fall and winter. Not spring. Spring is for Spring Practice.

    This strikes me (the leagues existing at all) as the typical strategy for a lot of startups in recent history. Make something that seems like a great idea in its own little bubble but is basically destined to fail when considered in the greater context of the world. Don’t put enough effort in to make it actually successful, as that will be too hard (remember, realistically, it’s actually NOT a good idea). Just put enough effort in to make a little splash – enter the news cycle for a brief moment – so that you get a quick surge of capital from the little publicity bump, then hope for one of two options: the quick surge of capital is enough to turn any kind of profit on the initial investment, then cut and run, or ideally the splash is enough that the big players in the game feel that the “competition” may potentially grow from a joke to a mild nuisance, and write them a check so they can get them out of the way.

    Either way it’s just another stat up cash grab mentality.

    Whatever it’s called, my eyes will go bye-bye since they opted to do away with the ‘Philadelphia’ Stars…even though their re-imagined uniforms were not a great as the original iteration.
    When do pitchers and catchers report?

    The Overwatch League was never the same format one season to the next, and that causes interest to drop off a cliff. Granted, the Chengdu Hunters folding kinda forced Blizzard’s hand in the final season, but even then they couldn’t stop tinkering – Overwatch 2 being inferior to the original didn’t help either.

    Too much change never ends well. Arena football suffered because of constant heavy relocation and teams shifting to other leagues. The WLAF went from a 30% European league to ultimately 5/6 German; while it might have been a slower transition, it was still too far in the wrong direction. The Admirals only stayed in Amsterdam because moving the World Bowl XIII champs would have been league suicide.

    The XFL, or the coming XSFL (let’s call it for now) is making the exact same mistake. Every single XFL season has been a near complete departure from the previous one (at least that was a good thing with v2.0), so what’s the point in following something that doesn’t even know where (or even IF) it’s going to be next season itself?

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