Details of the USFL and XFL merger were announced Sunday on “FOX NFL Sunday” ahead of the first swath of afternoon NFL games.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia, two of the top executives for the XFL, said the new spring football league will be called the United Football League.
“After an incredible two seasons that the USFL has had and an incredible XFL season last year, the USFL and XFL are merging to create the United Football League, the UFL,” Garcia said.
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The inaugural UFL season begins on March 30 between the USFL champion Birmingham Stallions and the XFL champions Arlington Renegades.
“We wanted to join forces for a few reasons,” Johnson said. “I think, number one, to grow the game of football and it’s a game that we all love. And create opportunities for players as we all know first hand how important that is and also, deliver for the fans.
“Think about it, this is 30 years in spring football of starting and stopping and starting and stopping. This merger between USFL and XFL, it feels like we got a shot to establish that spring football is here to stay.”
The Rock said fans should expect a hard-nosed, intense and passionate football from the players in the league. Garcia added that both leagues shared a common vision – “unleashing the dreams that football makes possible.”
The league announced that former XFL CEO and president Russ Brandon will serve as UFL president and Daryl Johnston, the former USFL president of football operations, will lead football operations.
“FOX is football, and the success of the USFL has proven that there’s a bright future for spring football,” FOX Sports CEO and executive producer Eric Shanks said in a statement. “The opportunity to bring together our two leagues – each with a commitment to advancing broadcast practices, rule innovations and the community – only furthers the potential of the United Football League and solidifies its spot on the sports calendar.”
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The USFL launched in 2022 and featured eight teams – Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers, Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, Tampa Bay Bandits and New Orleans Breakers. In 2023, the Bandits became the Memphis Showboats.
The league started in a bubble atmosphere with most of the games being played in Birmingham and the championship being played in Canton, Ohio.
In 2023, teams shared stadiums with Ford Field in Detroit, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Protective Stadium in Birmingham and Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis being the bases.
The Stallions won back-to-back titles and the league saw several players on NFL rosters over the last two years.
The XFL was rebooted in 2020 and became a top spring league until the effects of the coronavirus pandemic not only canceled the season but forced the sale of the property altogether. The Rock and Garcia spearheaded the purchase of the league and got it back up in 2023.
The XFL had eight teams as well in 2023 – DC Defenders, Seattle Sea Dragons, St. Louis BattleHawks, Vegas Vipers, Arlington Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Orlando Guardians and San Antonio Brahmas.
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The Renegades defeated the Defenders in the championship.
Details about the markets will be released later.
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