XFL and USFL Say They Will Merge Football Leagues, Which Tangles Up the TV Rights





The XFL and USFL said on Thursday that they intend to merge into a single football league.

The two leagues offered a short statement on the deal, and said that more details about the new league would come at a later time.

“Subject to customary regulatory approvals and if the transaction is consummated, the new league will establish best-in-class operations based on the most recent seasons of both leagues,” the statement read.  “This historic combination will anchor professional spring football with substantial capabilities and resources to ensure future growth and continue to enhance the development of the collective players, coaches, and staff that are coming together.” 

The merger will create a larger combined league, although it would remain a far cry from the NFL with just a tiny fraction of its audience. Sports media reporter Anthony Crupi tweeted that both the XFL and USFL averaged around 600,000 viewers per game, while ESPN’s broadcast of the Bills vs. Jets Monday Night Football drew 22.6 million viewers. While Fox said USFL games have been profitable, the XFL lost $60 million this year, according to Forbes.

One question that arises will be where the combined league would air its games. Dwayne Johnson and Danny Garcia owns the XFL, with Disney as its media partner, while Fox Corp. owns the USFL and broadcasts games on its network. The merger will likely trigger discussions about where they will air, potentially expanding its reach on different networks, through over-the-air broadcasts or on streaming.

The XFL was already moving games from ESPN+ to YouTube, where you can catch them for free, according to XFL News Hub.

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