Merged XFL-USFL to be rebranded as United Football League

The merged XFL-USFL spring football league will be known as the UFL -- the United Football League -- its partners confirmed Sunday.

Former XFL president/CEO Russ Brandon will hold the same title for the UFL, and former USFL president of football operations Daryl Johnston will lead the new league's football operations.

Further details will be announced at a later time, including the number of teams and the cities they will represent. But the UFL did confirm that its March 30 opener will be played between the leagues' 2023 champions: the Arlington Renegades (XFL) and Birmingham Stallions (USFL).

A news release listed five UFL "partners": the three XFL owners -- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital Partners -- USFL owner Fox Sports (represented by CEO Eric Shanks) and ESPN (represented by chairman Jimmy Pitaro). Disney/ESPN was the exclusive broadcast partner of the 2023 XFL season.

"From day one, our mission has been to expand the game of football and be a league of opportunity, culture and innovation," Johnson said in a statement. "As we come together to create the UFL, we can build something powerful, exciting and very cool for football fans -- a spring league with lasting impact for all the players with a dream to play pro football and the 'hardest workers in the room' mentality to make their dreams come true."

Said Shanks: "FOX is football, and the success of the USFL has proven that there's a bright future for spring football. The opportunity to bring together our two leagues -- each with a commitment to advancing broadcast practices, rule innovations and the community -- only furthers the potential of the United Football League and solidifies its spot on the sports calendar."

The USFL and XFL played separate, partially overlapping schedules in 2023. The leagues announced an intent to merge on Sept. 28 and received approval from federal regulators Nov. 30. The XFL had previously discussed a partnership with the Canadian Football League in 2021, but negotiations did not lead to an agreement.