The XFL plans to return to the gridiron in spring 2023.
On Wednesday the Canadian Football League (CFL) released a statement stating talks of exploring a potential collaboration with the XFL will no longer be pursued. The two leagues had announced plans to potentially collaborate and “grow the game of football” together back in March of 2021, but the CFL's statement put those talks to bed.
“While we remain open to finding new ways to work together in the future, we and our XFL counterparts have jointly decided to not pursue any formal arrangements at this time,” the statement read. The CFL season will begin on August 5 of this year and culminate with the Grey Cup on December 12.
In a statement given to Sports Business Journal's Ben Fischer, the XFL shared its plan to return in 2023 despite discussions with the CFL ending.
"While our discussions with the CFL did not ultimately lead to a collaboration, the effort reinforced our belief and commitment to developing the XFL for international spring football. We look forward to seeing everyone for kickoff in spring of 2023."
XFL football has been on hiatus since March 8 of 2020—week 5 of the regular season. Coronavirus, as it did with all major sports, shut down the XFL for the remainder of the campaign. The league had announced it planned to return to action in 2022 in a press release given this past October, but were unable to resume operation.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, among other investors, purchased the XFL in August of 2020 for $15 million. Before the COVID pandemic, the XFL was an overall success as fans were buying into the product and players got a more in-depth viewing from the NFL. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was a backup QB on the XFL's St. Louis Battlehawks prior to signing with Washington Football Team.
Washington’s XFL squad, the D.C. Defenders, was founded in 2018 along with the league itself and became one of eight inaugural member teams. The defenders play their games at Audi Field and finished their 2020 season 3-2 overall before the season was cut short by the pandemic.