Nearly everything Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has touched over the past 20 years in sports & entertainment has turned into gold. His Midas touch began in pro wrestling behind Vince McMahon and the WWF/WWE, then carried over to the big screen in Hollywood. Johnson revamped McMahon’s twice-failed XFL project when he bought and relaunched the league earlier this year. That relaunch put the XFL up against the USFL in the spring, which made its return a few years earlier. Now, the two leagues are discussing a merger, as reported by Axios.
After two lackluster campaigns for the USFL and one from the XFL, both have apparently thrown in the towel on competing as separate entities each spring. Americans love football, yes, if the product is good. It was hard to fathom either of these football leagues long once they announced their returns. So, combining forces will be better in the long run, certainly from a financial standpoint.
The NFL has such a stranglehold over football fans that it’s tough to compete for eyeballs even when there aren’t games being played in that league. While the USFL and XFL are marketed as professional football alternatives, most spectators see them as the minor leagues at best. It’s safe to say all of their talent aspires to make it to the NFL or get another shot if they’ve played there previously.
Being an offseason alternative to the NFL is the best the USFL and XFL can hope for, so tackling that together could mean more long-term success. This merger could be even more critical once the Arena Football League returns next year. So much “professional” football is on the market that it has quickly become oversaturated. An announcement about the XFL/USFL merger could come later this week.