Earlier this month, news broke that the XFL and CFL have had discussions about a possible partnership. Shortly after news leaked out, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie and XFL chairwoman/owner Dany Garcia both released statements about the discussions. Neither statement mentioned anything about a merger of both leagues. However, that didn’t stop fans of both leagues from speculating. Today, we discuss what might come from the XFL-CFL discussions.
XFL-CFL Discussions Could be Beneficial For Both Leagues
It makes sense that the XFL and CFL would have discussions.
The CFL was forced to cancel their 2020 season because of the COVID pandemic. It has been reported that the loss of the season caused the CFL to lose upward up to $60 million dollars. The CFL is a league that depends on fans attending games. With losing that revenue, it wouldn’t be surprising that their losses were even higher than the reported $60 million.
The pandemic forced the CFL to lose a season. But for the XFL, it forced them to close the doors. The XFL’s 2.0 season was off to a solid start before the pandemic hit. But once it did, the XFL canceled its season and eventually caused then XFL owner Vince McMahon to file bankruptcy on the league.
Eventually, a group consisting of RedBird Capital, Garcia, and her ex-husband Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bought the league out of bankruptcy for a reported $15 million dollars. This will be the third time that the XFL will try to kickoff. But this will be the first time that it won’t have McMahon and his WWE money behind it.
So, the question is, what can the partnership between the XFL and CFL do to help both leagues? Is a merger the only way to make sure the CFL stays in business and makes sure the XFL eventually kicks off? There are a lot of questions and not many solid answers.
RedBird’s Money Could Give Immediate Help to the CFL
RedBird Capital is reportedly worth $7.35 billion dollars. They have become major investors throughout the professional sports landscape. That type of background, and money, could be a major asset to the CFL.
While the XFL is owned by RedBird, Garcia, and Johnson, the CFL has individual team owners. Owners who have a lot of money, but nothing like what RedBird has. Johnson is a Hollywood star with a massive following. He might not have the money RedBird has, but he is a major asset when it comes to drawing publicity.
The CFL was founded in 1958. The league has the history that the XFL would benefit from. But for the CFL, the new owners of the XFL bring with them something they are in dire need of. That being money, Garcia’s business acumen, and Johnson’s popularity.
Having some type of partnership with the XFL could make sure that the CFL can continue playing. A merger could possibly guarantee that, but it could alter the way the CFL is played. However, a partnership might benefit both leagues.
If the XFL and CFL can at least partner together, not only would it save the CFL but also help the XFL get off the ground and make sure it plays more than just one season.
The XFL Needs the CFL
We have always cheered for the XFL. We live in a world that loves football, Canadian or American. If the XFL succeeds, that means more football, which makes a lot of football fans around the world happy.
It appeared that the XFL 2.0 had a real shot in succeeding. They had an owner, McMahon, who is a billionaire and was willing to spend his own money to make sure the XFL was a success. It had a commissioner, Oliver Luck, who had an established football background and is a well-respected football professional. They also had TV partners that believed in the product. But it all came to a crashing halt when the pandemic hit.
Now, it is back to square one for the XFL. While there are many XFL podcasters and fans that believe the CFL needs the XFL more than the XFL needs the CFL, that really isn’t the case.
The XFL needs the CFL just as much as the CFL needs the XFL. While RedBird, Garcia, and Johnson have given XFL fans hope, they still have a very long way to go to make the XFL a reality. While the CFL has a structure, the XFL only has just a handful of employees. The CFL has a TV deal with TSN, while the XFL currently doesn’t have one. They don’t have any football personnel or most importantly, players.
Both leagues could learn something from each other, benefitting both leagues. While the CFL doesn’t have the reputation the NFL has, it does have a history, a history that consists of playing full seasons. For the XFL, it has played just one and a half seasons in its history. Not to burst the bubble of the podcasters and fans, but there could be a thing or two to the XFL can learn from the CFL.
The reality is that the XFL isn’t a league, as of right now. But with the CFL’s help, the XFL could once again be a true professional football league.
Partnership over Merger
Merging the CFL and the XFL wouldn’t be an easy task.
First, the CFL plays a different style of football than the XFL has played. They play on a bigger field, field more players, and only have three downs. The three downs for longtime CFL fans are a very important detail. The CFL tried playing that style in the United Stated when they expanded there years ago. It didn’t go over well at all.
Americans didn’t embrace the Canadian style of football and there are some questions that Canadians would embrace the American style of football as well. In a perfect world, either would be a perfect match and having teams in both countries would be a big hit. But we don’t live in a perfect world and merging the leagues brings with it a lot of risks.
But a partnership, one that could consist of sharing players, either through trades or player transferring as they do in professional soccer, could be a benefit to both leagues. However, that won’t be easy, with the CFL have an established players association and the XFL having to create one.
There are a lot of possibilities and questions in regards to this possible marriage. There is a chance that nothing comes from these discussions, which should disappoint football fans. It also should disappoint the football players who have fallen through the cracks of the NFL and are searching for jobs.
A merger might not be the answer. But a partnership between the established CFL and the startup XFL could be exactly what football fans have been waiting for.
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