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Dwayne Johnson Pauses XFL Reboot Amid Discussions With CFL

“Neither league mentioned a possible merger in their statement, nor did they provide details on the discussions, only acknowledging they’re taking place.”

Brandon Contes

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The CFL has been an operational professional football league since 1958, while the XFL is preparing for its third reboot having never made it through more than one full season. And according to statements released by both leagues, they’re engaged in preliminary discussions about how they can work together.

Last August, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson partnered with Dani Garcia and RedBird Capital to acquire the XFL from Vince McMahon for $15 million. McMahon attempted to reboot the league last year after it failed in 2001, but the XFL 2.0 was ruined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after purchasing the league, Johnson and Garcia announced the XFL would return in 2022, but those plans are now on hold, pending the outcome of discussions with the CFL. 

Neither league mentioned a possible merger in their statement, nor did they provide details on the discussions, only acknowledging they’re taking place. 

“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,” XFL president and CEO Jeffrey Pollack said. “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.”

Johnson also acknowledged discussions with the CFL and expressed admiration for the league.

“As an owner of the XFL, our discussions with the CFL have been very exciting. There’s a real pulse here because you can feel the unique opportunity we can potentially create together,” he wrote. “Wherever it all leads, I can tell you this one is personal to me and is driven by all my passion – because me being cut by the CFL was the greatest thing that happened. It set me on a path that years later would lead me right back to the league.”

Like all sports, the CFL was hit hard by the global pandemic, but they were forced to cancel the 2020 season in anticipation of significant financial losses. After pledging to return, the CFL has announced a full schedule for 2021 set to kickoff in June, but lost income from a canceled season certainly has lasting impacts. 

A 63-year-old league, the CFL has a rich history in Canada. And even though the XFL is 0 for 2 in its attempts to get off the ground, it has some marketability within the United States, where the CFL’s presence is minimal. At the surface, a partnership seems like oil and water, but the CFL and XFL still represent two reeling football leagues with different qualities to offer.

Sports TV News

ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years

“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”

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The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.

The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.

Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.

That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.

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Sports TV News

NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.

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Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.

ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.

The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.

At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.

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Sports TV News

AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.

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The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.

CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.

With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.

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