Having already been beaten to the punch to play Spring football in 2019, the XFL announced on Wednesday their eight franchises that will compete the following year in the league’s relaunch of 2020.
And a Florida city is on the list to play.
XFL commissioner (and former NFL QB and West Virginia athletic director) Oliver Luck made the announcements Wednesday afternoon of the eight cities that will play for the first season of the XFL coming back to life. Those announcements came in Wednesday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which will be the flagship site/city for the league.
Along with New York, the XFL announced seven other cities and stadium deals. Those are in Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington D.C. and…. Tampa Bay.
IT’S TRUE, TAMPA BAY!
The #XFL is excited to become part of your sun-soaked community, and will call @RJStadium home when we kick off in 2020. Make your season ticket deposit today: https://t.co/QE8CGAX3Dz#XFL2020 pic.twitter.com/idlx03vXzW
— XFL Tampa Bay (@XFLTampaBay) December 5, 2018
The choice of West Central Florida is interesting for several reasons: One, Tampa Bay previously had success with a spring football entry in the United States football league in the mid-1980s. Secondly, the competing Alliance of American football already picked Orlando for one of its cities, when they begin play in a few months. They also named the former Bandits of the USFL and Gators legendary QB and coach, Steve Spurrier, as head coach.
Third, it’s also interesting that many of the franchises are isolated geographically and almost disconnected from the rest of the league. The example of Tampa Bay being franchise that doesn’t have another club within 1500 miles of them. The closest would be either St Louis, Dallas or Washington D.C.
By contrast and by design, the AAF announced that Orlando is joined for their inaugural season by Birmingham, Memphis and Atlanta forming essentially a South Region for their fledgling spring League.
Raymond James Stadium is the home of the Buccaneers and also the USF Bulls. And, it will hold Super Bowl 54 in February of 2020 before this restart- XFL season is to begin. The league played one infamous season in 2001 which debuted with a massive opening TV rating their first week and then plummeted over the few weeks. The league folded after the one year, 17 years ago.
Back to Raymond James Stadium (above), it also hosted the College Football Playoff Championship Game won by Clemson in the final seconds against Alabama two years ago.
Three of the cities: New York, St Louis and Seattle will have football being played either a current or previous NFL venue. The other four cities are using baseball or soccer facilities for home games.
Finally, Luck and the XFL, which is being backed by WWE wrestling chairman, promoter and multi-millionaire Vince McMahon, have yet to make a formal announcement about any coaches for their franchises and what their player pool will be, etc.
There is also skepticism that since the AAF will be playing before them, that the XFL May scrap plans altogether to play a year and a half from now.
This would be especially, if the AAF shows great success, attendance and television ratings before the XFL has even signed a player.
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