With this crazy whirlwind of news we’ve been keeping up with the past week, we were sure that fans would have plenty of questions about all that’s going on. Thus, we have our very first edition of #AskXFLNewsHub, and we’re happy to shine a light on all the things that you all are wondering about.
We may not have gotten to every single one of your questions, but we appreciate you tuning in!
“Are they going to hire new staff or are they going to brig back some old staff too?”
Our very own @KonnorFulk tweeted this very same question at the league’s new owner Dany Garcia. He asked if pre-existing staff would be rehired because of their knowledge of the league, to which she replied: “Absolutely Agree!”
If they want to get the ball rolling by spring, they’re going to have to rush out the gate on August 21st, rehire as much staff as possible and salvage whatever infrastructure was in place.
“Do you think any of the teams get relocated as the league ‘resets’? LA had poor attendance and San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio are open. Are these markets ‘saved for expansion teams down the road?”
Great question. Recently, there have been rumblings that Tampa Bay and LA could migrate, and I believe San Diego and Orlando are prime locations. San Antonio has been mentioned as well because of its great AAF attendance, but the Texan teams seem less likely to move. While the new ownership has shown interest in possible expansion, I believe there is some motivation to relocate these teams. Chicago, Atlanta, and Birmingham have been brought up as well.
“How many teams will survive?”
The new owners, Garcia & the Rock have stated that “they love the XFL at 8 teams” and will be looking at expansion down the road. As it stands the Dragons, BattleHawks, Roughnecks, Defenders, Renegades and Guardians all look poised to make a comeback, with possible relocation for the Vipers and Wildcats.
“If the 2021 bubble idea happens will they allow fans if that venue allows it? We should have a vaccine by then and the election will be over so less conflicts of interest. Would the bubble location be a factor? St. Louis would draw especially for the BattleHawks or maybe since Orlando gets lots of tourists in the spring , away fans could attend (Kind of like MLB spring training) I know Houston had good facilities but that’s not a tourist area”
We all want to be in the stands. I’m dying to sit in with the crowds, beer and brat in hand. But the unfortunate reality is we just don’t know how the fall/winter is going to go. I do think its plausible that we’ll have a vaccine by spring. (one of my friends works for the company developing a COVID/Influenza combo shot and she says they’re making good progress)
However, if the league goes into a bubble type situation, I’m afraid we’ll have to at least start the year with cardboard cutouts in the bleachers. It’s possible they could do reduced capacities, or even liability waivers for fans, but the future is just so unclear at this point. I think a lot of this will depend on how the NFL’s season goes, if they allow fans, and if people get sick.
So you and me both are hoping to be out there supporting the guys on the field, but we’ll just have to wait and see at this point.
“Would starting after March Madness make sense to provide more time? Not only will the COVID situation be better but fans would have a 3 month football withdrawal. Hardcore football fans like me don’t want any gaps but more casual fans may want a break”
I can definitely see the rationale here, because filling the dead air of early summer would set the XFL apart. More time for the rona to dissipate would also be a plus, but I think the biggest factor here is how fast the new ownership can rebuild the league.
If they rehire all available old staff, bring back as many coaches and players as possible and rework their TV and Stadium deals, being back by February is a real possibility. However, its a difficult landscape to make moves in these days, and this process could take a little while.
“Is FOX the only interested TV partner?”
FOX Sports is definitely interested in being involved with the league (though the deals will likely be reworked). However, ESPN won’t be left out, and they’ve left the door open to the new owners. Dana White was quick to point out that ESPN is airing cornhole competitions these days, so if they can get viewers, so can we.
“With the new ownership of the XFL 3.0 version, do you think that the new owners are considering keeping the Dallas Renegades as a team?”
As the Renegades team reporter, I’ve been monitoring this situation very closely. Previous ownership had looked into relocating several teams, but the Renegades were never mentioned and this basically just applied to LA and Tampa Bay.
However, they were looking into San Antonio, which was a very successful market in the AAF as the San Antonio Commanders regularly drew crowds around 30,000 at the Alamodome. That’s almost double what we saw at Globe Life Park, so there is some concern there. However, I think the new ownership will want to salvage as much infrastructure from 2020 as possible to get things running by spring, so if they don’t need to move a team, they likely wont.
Essentially, I believe that the Renegades will ride again in Arlington, but there is a slight possibility they move to San Antonio. Raise Hell!
“Hopefully we expand and bring a team to Atlanta”
Dany Garcia wants to expand in the future, and I think Atlanta would be a fantastic market for the Eastern Conference. Great football town, and the South really hasn’t had representation in the XFL yet.
Depending on how 2021 goes, I think an expansion to 10 teams is the most likely, with one Eastern and one Western team. (I’ve personally been shilling for the to bring a team to Denver)
It would make sense to bring a team to Atlanta, but you might have some competition for an Eastern spot, as Birmingham has been pushing hard to get their own team. Both these cities had similar attendance in the AAF, but the Birmingham City Council is making moves to bring a team back.
I loved the Atlanta Legends though, those uniforms were crisp. Maybe write to your City Council and try to get them on board too!
“What do you, in your opinion think the future will look like for the XFL?”
Personally, I’m all in on the new ownership. Vince McMahon is a legend in his own right, and Oliver Luck did a fantastic job getting the league up and running, but Garcia & The Rock just have that X factor. These two are a literal case study for success in business at the Harvard Business school. Textbook empire builders, essentially.
They’ve expressed interest in doing “Hard Knocks” style coverage of the league, and that would just bring the XFL’s unprecedented fan access to a whole new level. I think they’ll put up a great product, and with their interest in expanding, the future looks bright.
“What paths do they need to take or improve on for this to truly succeed.“
There is a ton of work to be done, and this all starts August 21st. They’ll first have to hire and rehire hundreds of positions to get team and league offices up and running. Next, they’ll have to bargain with coaches and players to return, and while many have expressed a strong desire to come back, they will have to look into new acquisitions.
There will also be less time to scout new players, as the league previously had all spring/summer to run showcases and minicamps. I’d be surprised if they could get the draft going by November, and camps by December, but it is possible.
As far as improvements, there are several that immediately come to mind. While the XFL in 2020 was on FanDuel and DraftKings, and independent fantasy sites like AltFantasySports worked hard to support season-long leagues, I think we need more widespread Fantasy Football support.
XFL News Hub is developing a platform, and if ownership works out deals with bigger sites like ESPN or Yahoo, that could go a long way to spreading the word and promoting fan engagement.
I also think that player compensation will be a big deal. The original tiered payscale that was proposed last year ended up scrapped, as QB’s were paid a 6-figure premium and everyone else was signed for roughly $60-70k.
After this news broke we saw some players back out, most notably NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens. Obviously we’re not going to see contracts in the ballpark of NFL money, and while $60,000 for a few months of your time and energy isn’t bad, better pay would go a long way to building goodwill with players, and attract more talent.
In lieu of that, I’d hope that new ownership would be forthcoming about pay off the bat, and not change their position late in the game. The Rock is a former CFL player who knows what it’s like to be in their position, so I believe he’ll be motivated to do right by players either way.
Long response, great question.
Thanks everyone for bringing your questions to us, I hope we brought some clarity to the league’s new standing, and make sure to come back next week for #AskXFLNewsHub!
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