It looks like a cold war is brewing between fledgling spring professional football leagues the XFL and USFL, and the organization co-owned by Hollywood super Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is trying to undermine the future success of the USFL as they begin their return season.
On Tuesday, ESPN reported that the XFL’s top executives — Marc Ross, Doug Whaley, and Russ Giglio — convened a meeting with a group of agents to sell them on the benefits of working with them, when they kick off their return season next year, as opposed to the USFL.
XFL pitches it benefits over the USFL to player agents
During the reported virtual meeting, the league brass pushed the idea that salaries and benefits in the XFL would be higher than their counterpart. USFL players reportedly receive $4,500 per week and offer a $75 stipend towards hotel rooms at the league’s one-location playing site in Alabama. Along with allegedly offering higher salaries, the league executives also claimed they would take care of housing and meal costs during the season as well.
During the call, Ross, Whaley, and Giglio also suggested the notion that their league’s schedule — which runs from February to May — would also be more beneficial to athletes looking to parlay their success into roster spots with an NFL team that year. The USFL schedule runs from April to July.
The league set to begin next year will have eight franchises and a 70-man roster with 45 players being active each week. The plan creates 200 more jobs than the competition currently is offering gridiron athletes. One issue in trying to sway players from one league to the other is that USFL players reportedly signed two-year contracts when they joined the league last year.
The United States Football League is owned by Fox Sports and is a restart of the league that ran for three seasons between 1983 and 1985. The new season began this past weekend with a quartet of games on Fox and NBC.
The Xtreme Football League was a league originally co-founded by WWE CEO Vince McMahon in 2001. It was shuttered after one season and was reformed in 2020. Early results were promising that spring but the league was one of the most notable victims of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forcing an early end to the season and leading to an eventual bankruptcy filing.
The league was purchased by a consortium led by Johnson for $15 million in the summer of 2020.