The news that two spring football leagues, the XFL and USFL, are close to merging operations is just the latest instance of competing sports organizations opting to work together rather than battle separately.
This particular deal would bring together the most recent iterations of the XFL — which was founded in 2001, rebooted in 2020, and then sold to a group including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — and the USFL, which is owned by Fox Sports and uses trademarks from the original league that played in the 1980s.
One of the most interesting aspects of the merger: Fox will join forces with ESPN, which has the XFL’s media rights. NBC Sports also shows USFL games with Fox.
The Year Of Mergers
There have already been a number of major mergers within sports in 2023.
Last week, Major League Pickleball merged with the PPA Tour with a new $50 million investment to fuel the new entity, shortly after the UFC and WWE closed their $21 billion merger to form a new company, TKO Group Holdings. Days after the closing, layoffs began at WWE.
Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA — the world’s top men’s and women’s tennis tours — are set to discuss a merger of their own later this month.