Last week the CFL and XFL finally revealed the outcomes of their talks, and after months of speculation the two decided to focus on their own products for now. Some were hoping to see how a potential partnership could work, whereas others did not want to see changes to their league regardless of the potential benefits.
Although the two leagues couldn’t make a deal, some think that there could be a different kind of partnership in the works.
Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press recently suggested that Toronto Argonauts owners Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment could have the team join the XFL for its 2023 season. As part of its Wednesday announcement, the XFL shifted its planned relaunch from 2022 to 2023 and explained:
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.”
Meanwhile, Ralph added: “With reported annual losses of around $12 million operating within the Canadian league’s status quo, MLSE was the catalyst for the XFL discussion and saw a potential partnership as a way to establish a new structure that could help improve the football entity’s fortunes, according to multiple sources.”
TSN’s Dave Naylor gave his take on the rumor stating that he believes this story came about because the MLSE was reported to be very interested in a partnership with the XFL.
As for speculation the @TorontoArgos could leave @CFL for @XFL in 2023 … I believe that is derived from the fact MLSE is known to have been the most bullish on the CFL collaborating with XFL. It didn’t turn-out the way they hoped … so would they go it alone? I have no idea.
— Dave Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) July 9, 2021
In my opinion, I think it’s a stretch to think that the Argonauts will exit the CFL for the XFL. Although it’s possible, I would think it’s more likely the MLSE tries to bring a new team to the XFL. For this to be true, the ownership structure would need to change in the XFL. In 2020, all of the teams were owned by a the league, rather than individual owners.
The CFL was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be holding a shortened 14-game season kicking off Aug. 5, with the 108th Grey Cup set for Dec. 12 in Hamilton.
The XFL ended its 2020 season halfway through because of the health crisis and hasn’t yet returned. Dany Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners bought the XFL last summer after the league declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and have been planning since then.
Another reason the XFL could be waiting for 2023 is the emergence of a new spring competitor in the USFL. The USFL is set to return in 2022, in a major partnership with FOX. If you don’t remember, FOX was one of the XFL’s broadcast partners in 2020; so it could benefit them to wait out the situation.
Do you think we’ll see new teams added to the XFL when they kickoff in 2023? If so, is there any chance that it could be the Toronto Argonauts? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.