The XFL will be returning in 2020, and although we don’t know what the teams will be called, or who will play on them, we know where they’ll play.
On Wednesday, the league — which was notoriously famous for its single season in 2001, when it tried to combine football and professional wrestling — announced eight cities where franchises will be established.
On the East Coast, franchises will be in New York (playing at MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and Jets), Washington (Audi Field, home of the D.C. United) and Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers).
Texas will have two teams: Houston, which will play at TDECU Stadium, home of the University of Houston football team; and Dallas, which will play at Globe Life Park, currently the home of the Texas Rangers, who will play in a new stadium adjacent to their current home when it opens in 2020.
Football will be returning to St. Louis for the first time since the Rams departed for Los Angeles. The new Missouri franchise will play at the Rams' former home, now known as the Dome at America’s Center.
And on the West Coast, Los Angeles and Seattle will have teams. LA will play at the Stubhub Center. the temporary home of the Chargers and the primary home of the MLS’s Galaxy. Seattle’s team will play at the Seahawks' CenturyLink Field.
All eight cities currently host NFL teams or did until recently. This is a change from the XFL’s original strategy in 2001, when it focused on markets without an NFL presence -- Orlando, Birmingham, Las Vegas, and Memphis all hosted teams.
Oliver Luck, CEO and commissioner of the league, acknowledged the difficulty of creating a vibrant alternate league.
“I know we’re fighting history to a certain degree when you look back at all the alternative leagues that have existed," he told the Washington Post. "But I do think we’ve got an excellent opportunity to be around for a long, long time.”
The league is backed by the creator of the original XFL, Vince McMahon. The pro wrestling titan has made "a substantial commitment in terms of capital he’s going to put into the league,” Luck said. “We’ve got financial plans, budgets for a five-year run. I’m of the opinion that you have to really have multiple years to have a sense of whether it’s working.”
Play for the new XFL will begin the week after Super Bowl LIV in 2020. The Post is reporting that team names and logos will be announced early in 2019, followed by quarterbacks in the summer.
Luck said there will be “relatively little in common” with 2001′s version of the XFL.
“I’ll be the first to admit that the quality of the play in 2001 was not where it needed to be. . . . We have the benefit of really being able to ramp up in calendar year 2019 and be able to come out of the chute in 2020 playing good, quality football.”
When it debuted in 2001, the XFL sought to position itself as an alternative to the “no-fun league," changing rules for coin tosses, banning point-after kicks and introducing new camera methods.
Games kicked off in February to high ratings and buzz. But viewership dropped off and the league lost its contract to air games. After one season, the league folded. The Los Angeles Xtreme won the only championship.
The news of the locations wasn’t entirely a surprise. The league accidentally revealed its own secrets last week when its website was updated to reflect contact information for eight sites.