3 min read

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Dany Garcia, co-owners of XFL, unveil ‘United Football League’ merger with USFL


The United Football League (UFL), an American football league resulting from the merger of the XFL and the United States Football League (USFL), has officially announced the commencement of its inaugural 2024 season scheduled to kick off on March 30.

To strategically avoid conflicting with the National Football League (NFL), the UFL will unfold its season during the spring months. The league structure includes eight teams engaging in a ten-game regular season, followed by post-season playoffs leading up to a championship game.

The participating teams are divided into two conferences, one representing sides from the USFL merger, and the other featuring teams from the XFL merger. The league’s leadership will be a collaborative effort, with former XFL president and CEO Russ Brandon assuming the role of UFL president and CEO, and former USFL president of football operations Daryl Johnston taking on the same position at the UFL.

UFL’s broadcasting strategy involves leveraging the existing TV deals of both leagues, ensuring coverage on major sports networks in the United States, including the Fox network’s Fox Sports channels, and Disney’s channels ESPN and ABC.

Ownership of the UFL is evenly split, with a 50/50 share between the ownership groups of the merged XFL and USFL. The USFL was under the ownership of global media giant Fox Corporation, while the XFL was a collaborative effort led by actor and former professional wrestler and American football player Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, US businesswoman Dany Garcia and private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners.

Gerry Cardinale, Managing Partner at RedBird, expressed confidence in the UFL’s potential, stating, “When you combine the entertainment and marketing expertise of Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, the broadcast and network reach of Fox and ESPN, and the strategic capital and company building mentality of RedBird, there is a tremendous opportunity to achieve something unique.”

Cardinale added that the UFL could become, “a valuable and scalable live event entertainment platform that will continue to work closely with the NFL on innovation and player development and have a legitimate shot at becoming one of the top professional leagues in the country after the big four.”

The merger was announced in September 2023, following persistent rumours and challenges faced by both leagues in terms of viewership and public interest during their respective 2023 seasons.

The UFL, by combining viewer bases and securing robust broadcasting rights, aims to carve a distinct niche in the landscape of American football alternatives, although questions persist about the public’s appetite for football during the NFL offseason.

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