The USFL and XFL are closing in a merger, with the hopes of creating one spring league, according to multiple reports.
The leagues hope to finalize the deal — which would need regulatory approval — before the start of the 2024 season.
“We will not comment on rumors and speculation,” the XFL said in a statement to Axios, which first reported the potential deal.
The upstart leagues competed against one another last year — including for air time during a two-month overlap of their seasons.
The USFL was rebooted by Fox Corp in 2022 and played its first season with eight teams from April-July.
It’s second season saw seven of its original cities maintain teams, while the Tampa franchise relocated to Memphis.
In its original iteration, the USFL presented itself as a spring alternative to the NFL, luring the likes of Herschel Walker and Steve Young in their first seasons as pros, though it shuttered in 1986 after three seasons.
As for the XFL, the 2023 season represented a second attempt to raise the league from the dead after two previous Vince McMahon-led operations in 2001 and 2020 lasted a season apiece.
New ownership, led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia, bought the league after it filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and resurrected it earlier this year.
The Johnson-fronted league reportedly lost $60 million last season while using five of the 2020 iteration’s cities, relocating one and replacing two others, playing its games from February-May with an ESPN broadcast deal.
“This is not just an endeavor that’s going to fill up a portfolio and one day we flip it and we’re out,” Johnson told Forbes in June. “This is legacy. This is the long game.”
Details of a potential merger would not only have to figure out media rights, but also have to include the future of all 16 teams between the two leagues, including two franchises currently based in Houston.
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