The XFL and the CFL (Canadian Football League) announced today that the two leagues have entered into formal talks ahead of “opportunities for the leagues to collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football.”
The XFL, formerly owned by WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, was sold to a private equity group that is led by former WWE Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson back last fall. Rock revealed on October 1, 2020 that they are looking to bring the league back in 2022. However, Sports Business Journal now reports that the 2022 relaunch will likely be delayed due to the new talks with the CFL.
XFL President & CEO Jeffrey Pollack told Ben Fischer of SBJ that the league has “decided to hit pause on planning for our ’22 season, so we can focus on these conversations.”
The two sides have declined to rule out any particular outcome of their talks, including a merger or acquisition.
Dany Garcia, XFL Chairwoman and Owner, noted in a statement that they have been looking for potential partners since acquiring the league last year. She promised updates to come.
“Since we first acquired the XFL, we have focused on identifying partners who share our vision and values on and off the field. A vision filled with opportunity, innovation and the highest level of entertainment value for the benefit of our athletes, fans and communities. The CFL has expressed that similar sentiment and jointly we recognize a great opportunity to build exciting innovative football experiences that make the most of each league’s unique strengths. I look forward to our continued discussions and we will update the sports community as we have more to share,” Garcia said.
Pollack said in his statement that the XFL is honored to be in talks with the CFL.
“We are honored and excited to be in discussions with the CFL. It’s clear through our early conversations that we share a passion for football, an expansive sense of possibility, and a deep desire to create more opportunity for players and fans across North America and around the world. Blending the CFL’s rich heritage with our fresh thinking, and the unique reach and experience of our ownership, could be transformative for the game. We look forward to learning more about what’s possible together with the CFL and where our shared passion takes us,” Pollack said.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie also issued a statement on alignment opportunities with the XFL.
“Canada has an exciting game and devoted fans, and our discussion with the XFL provides a tremendous opportunity to build on that strong foundation. We look forward to exploring how we might work with one of the most innovative sports brands in the world to grow the game, engage fans in new ways, and reach new audiences. We look forward to seeing what possibilities our discussions might uncover, and to sharing those with our fans as the process unfolds,” Ambrosie said.
The Rock did not issue an individual statement along with Garcia and Pollack, but he was mentioned as one of the XFL owners in the official announcement. The official press release noted that, “CFL to Explore Opportunities for Alignment with XFL Owners Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and RedBird Capital.”
Stay tuned for more on the future of the XFL. Below are the Twitter statements issued today:
An update from ownership. #XFL
— XFL (@XFL2022) March 10, 2021
— CFL (@CFL) March 10, 2021