XFL and USFL Merger Good News for St. Louis Battlehawks?
Last week Axios reported on a potential merger between spring football leagues the XFL and the USFL. This morning the USFL and the XFL announced their intention to merge. Could this be good news for the St. Louis Battlehawks and their fans?
At this point, details about the merger are murky at best, with the leagues' announcement pretty much only confirming what Axios reported last week. The two leagues pretty much provided no details beyond a couple of paragraphs describing the two leagues and a statement saying they'll release more details about the new league at a later date.
Generally, the merger of the XFL and the USFL into a new league seems like a good idea. As Axios pointed out in their story, a combined league might be the smartest path forward considering most leagues being offered as an alternative to the NFL have pretty much failed.
According to Axios, they report that Fox Corp. which owns the USFL has said the league has been profitable, while citing Forbes that the XFL owned by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his partners Dany Garcia and Red Bird Capital Partners lost $60 million dollars in it's first season under Johnson.
With the XFL bleeding red ink, the merger is probably a good thing for the viability of the XFL and the Battlehawks. That isn't to say the USFL couldn't place a team called the Battlehawks in St. Louis if the XFL folded. With an average attendance of around 35,000 per game according to Sports Pro Media, that might be a no-brainer. Yet, there's no guarantee that would happen either.
Both the USFL and XFL are eight-team leagues with the USFL playing games in Canton, Birmingham, Memphis, and Detroit. With teams also calling Philadelphia, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pittsburgh. home, although they didn't actually play in those towns. While the XFL fielded teams in Arlington, Texas, Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Antonio, Seatle, Saint Louis, and Washington, DC.
Most Battlehawks fans commenting on the merger announcement on the Battlehawks Facebook page seem cautiously in favor of the merger citing less competition for talent and pointing out the success the NFL had after they merged with the AFL. My buddy Mike, a Battlehawks fan digs the idea of the potential for more games and a longer season.
If there's one thing Battlehawks fans are a little nervous about, it's if the new league adopts the USFL's practice of only playing games in some of the cities that have teams, not playing in all cities that have teams.
It's not something I'd worry too much about though. With an average attendance of 35,000 people, I'd be really surprised if St. Louis didn't become one of the cities the new league plays its games in, even if they do keep what seems to be an odd business model to me.
The bottom line, this merger is good news for Battlehawks fans, and the two leagues pulling off this merger might be the best way to ensure the Battlehawks keep playing. Because, frankly, when your league loses $60 million dollars, your league isn't going to stick around for too many seasons before the plug gets pulled.