In a stunning announcement Wednesday, the Canadian Football League has revealed that it is in talks to “collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football,” with the XFL in the United States.
In an official statement, the CFL said that it has agreed to work with XFL owners Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and RedBird Capital to identify opportunities.
“Canada has an exciting game and devoted fans, and our discussion with the XFL provides a tremendous opportunity to build on that strong foundation,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
“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.”
For their part, the XFL executives involved in the discussions said that they recognize this as a great opportunity to build an exciting and innovative brand of football.
“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,” added XFL president and CEO Jeffrey Pollack.
“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.”
Currently, the CFL continues to deliberate if, and when, there will be a season in 2021. It will largely depend on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across Canada in time for a season. The league is considering having a normal season starting in June, or a shortened version kicking off in September.
The XFL made a return in 2020 after a 19-year hiatus, but its season was cut short by the global pandemic.
After cancelling the season, the league suspended its operations and fired all of its employees before filing for bankruptcy and putting itself up for sale.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale (through Cardinale’s fund RedBird Capital Partners) then bought the XFL for USD$15 million.
Professional wrestling executive Vince McMahon launched the original XFL in 2001 but it lasted for just one season. McMahon was behind the reboot of the league in 2018.