ESPN: The Rock's XFL Says It Would Offer Higher Salaries, Better Benefits Than USFL

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 19, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: A view of the XFL logo on the sidelines before the XFL game between the DC Defenders and the St. Louis Battlehawks at Audi Field on March 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

High-ranking XFL executives reportedly held a meeting with player agents Monday to lay out why its relaunch in 2023 will represent a better NFL showcase opportunity than the USFL, which started its 2022 season over the weekend.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert reported Tuesday the XFL group, which featured Marc Ross, Doug Whaley and Russ Giglio representing owners Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Dany Garcia, said it will offer players "higher salaries and better benefits" than the USFL.

Spring football has failed to gain a significant foothold in the U.S. It's a time on the sports calendar reserved for March Madness followed by the NBA and NHL playoffs along with the MLB season.

While there may be enough interest for one offseason alternative to the NFL, it's unlikely both the USFL and XFL can coexist for the long haul.

In turn, the XFL is trying to lay the groundwork to survive that head-to-head battle beginning next year.

Along with the salaries and benefits, the league's executives told agents their February-to-May schedule is a better fit for players with an eye toward the NFL than the USFL's April-to-July slate, per Seifert.

Johnson, who played football in college at the University of Miami and professionally with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders before his successful WWE and acting careers, explained on ESPN's Get Up last week why he decided to join the XFL's ownership group:

Get Up @GetUpESPN

XFL co-owner, <a href="https://twitter.com/TheRock?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheRock</a>, talked about his inspiration behind becoming involved in the league ⬇️<br><br>"I got involved with the XFL and became an XFL owner with Dany to help players dreams come true ... and to grow the game of football." <a href="https://t.co/VXKOZPnfLB">pic.twitter.com/VXKOZPnfLB</a>

The league will lean heavily on his star power to spotlight its return over the next 10 months.

While having The Rock as a hype man is certainly an advantage, USFL executive Daryl Johnston said he's confident the league is in a better position to deliver for fans than the XFL, per Seifert.

"When you're talking about Fox and NBC as partners, I don't think there is a way for the XFL to match what we have created there in the ability to broadcast the USFL into television for the fans," Johnston said.

Put it all together, and a classic "this town ain't big enough for both of us" showdown awaits for the two leagues in 2023.