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XFL, USFL announce intention to merge

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - The Canadian Press

The XFL and United States Football League (USFL) officially announced the intention to merge leagues on Thursday.

The move comes days after Axios reported a merger was close.

Because the deal would be a merger and not an absorption, regulatory approval is still required for the deal to be consummated.

"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 two groups said in a statement.

Trademark attorney Josh Gerber noted on Wednesday that the USFL had recently filed for 22 new trademarks including those for the "National Spring Football League" and "NSFL," potentially hinting at a new name for the merged league.

Both the XFL and USFL are reboots of previous incarnations.

The USFL was originally launched as an NFL competitor in 1983 and featured multiple future Pro Football Hall of Famers including Jim Kelly, Reggie White and Steve Young, but ceased operations in 1986. It was relaunched in 2022 and has operated with eight teams for the past two years. The current incarnation of the USFL is owned by Fox Sports.

The original XFL launched in 2001 as a venture of then-World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon and operated for a single season, backed by NBC. McMahon attempted a relaunch in 2020 that was aborted midseason due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He would go on to sell the league's assets to a group led by former WWF star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who relaunched the eight-team league this past February.

The two groups say further announcements will be forthcoming at a later date.