The XFL is on its way back in two years, and eight teams will be playing a ten week regular season. However, since the league is barely new, we don’t know where those teams are located. There has been speculation in terms of cities that could become the potential homes to the XFL rebirth. In collaboration with my fellow Athletes Hub writer Luke Jobson, here are four cities I think could play host, and four cities Luke believes the XFL should explore.
Note: Television market rankings were taken from 2017 Nielsen DMA Rankings here.
Detroit, Michigan: Detroit is home to the NFL’s Lions, but a team here wouldn’t be a horrible idea. They were the thirteenth-largest television market in 2017. The city of Detroit is rather passionate for football as well. They’re willing to spend their Thanksgiving watching football at Ford Field as opposed to spending time with their own families. If that doesn’t speak to their devotion to the sport, I don’t know what will.
San Diego, California: This is a bit of an obvious one. San Diego lost the Chargers awhile back and have been a rumored destination for an XFL team ever since the league’s return was made official. San Diego was the twenty-eighth-largest television market in 2017. The XFL would be rather smart to try and feed off the city’s despise for Dean Spanos. The only major professional team there is the Padres, and the fans aren’t incredibly interested in them. Vince McMahon could give them something to be interested in.
San Antonio, Texas: San Antonio was rumored to be a landing spot for the Oakland Raiders before they decided to join the Golden Knights and relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada. San Antonio has the Spurs, and not only are the Spurs a hot topic there, they’re also a favorite of many across the country. San Antonio is the thirty-first-largest television market in the world, and look like a city that can support another professional sports team.
Boston, Massachusetts: Boston has claimed the New England Patriots as their own, but that’s a city that would love a team in their own backyard. Boston is a hardcore sports city with some of the most passionate fans in the world, and are also the ninth-largest television market in the entire world. People would buy tickets, tune in on the television, and could be one of the hottest teams in the league in terms of fan interest.
If the XFL wants to ensure that they have teams in the right places that will draw a crowd, and in order to get an exciting atmosphere at the games, you have to put a team in Oakland. With the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas in the near future, it leaves a city begging for a team to support and carry on the traditions.
This is where the XFL and Vince McMahon have to open their eyes and keep the door open. In theory, it could be a like-for-like swap with the Las Vegas Outlaws from the 2001 season, as Oakland had the Raiders at that stage. Oakland was not one of the twenty-four cities listed by the XFL as potential suitors for a team. However, the foot could still be in the proverbial door with the XFL stating that additional cities would be considered.
St Louis, Missouri
As another city that has been begging for a football team since the Rams moved to Los Angeles, St Louis was one of the cities listed as a potential suitor, and with good reason. The city has been crying for football over the years, with four teams moving in and out of the city during that time. Only the St Louis Rams were somewhat successful, playing in two NFL Championship games within the twenty years they were based in the city.
The city has a football stadium that would in theory be able to meet the requirements of the XFL. The “Dome at America’s Center” seats almost 66,000 people, which would be more than enough for a supporter base just starting out. The NFL claimed that St Louis was not really able to support a growing NFL team, but what about a franchise building from the bottom up?
The taxpayers of Missouri are still paying for the stadium, so the XFL should put it to use by building a franchise that could thrive.
One of the original eight teams in the competition were the Birmingham Thunderbolts, and it only makes sense to have a couple of those original teams come back in the relaunch. Birmingham does have a very loose connection with Alpha Entertainment and the WWE, with the main surgeon for the WWE superstars being based out of Birmingham as well (Dr. James Andrews). You also can’t ignore the fact that the city is begging for a major sports team at the moment, with Birmingham having plenty of minor league teams, but nothing of note in any of the big four American Sports.
The city currently has Legion Field, home to the Thunderbolts when the XFL was around in 2001. They have the want for a professional football team, however, they also can not afford to rent out a stadium that could hold close to ninety thousand people, yet have only twenty thousand show up.
That will be the one and only drawback, with the Thunderbolts average attendance in 2001 only hitting seventeen thousand people. If the city can prove that it is willing to put forth the effort so that this team would succeed financially, it only makes sense to bring back one of the original teams from the original XFL.
Out of the eight teams that have been offered up here, Louisville would have to be considered as the city with the least chance of getting a team. Louisville was not part of the list given by the XFL, however, they have the fans to support the team, as well as the facilities to show for it. Louisville have not had a professional football team since 1926, and a football team at all since 2011.
There is the potential of renting out the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, home to the
University of Louisville, or renovating the old Cardinals Stadium. While the stadium has not been used for sport since the Louisville baseball team moved out in 2014, the potential is still there for a major team to make a splash.
Vince McMahon also has ties with Louisville, as the WWE’s old developmental territory was based out of the city (OVW). The only issue would be if the city would get behind a team. With a population of just over six hundred thousand, you won’t be filling up a stadium every week. If the XFL decides to pull a left field move and go to Louisville, the team might need a little help. On the other hand, once they are rolling, they will be a sneaky cash cow for the franchise and league.
Photo Credit: SB Nation