With fingers crossed, it looks as though the breakaway XFL might just be able to have a full season in 2023, with its two-year hiatus already leading to significant changes to its build. Of course, the second inaugural season of the XFL in 2020 was cut short, with 2021 wiped from the slate entirely, but there’s a renewed optimism for 2023.
Set to kick off a week after the Super Bowl, the six summer showcases of the XFL are underway, as reported by NBC Sports, with backrooms also taking shape across the league. However, there have been a few changes to the teams entering the XFL, losing a major market while also entering one of the hottest in US sports right now.
Given that it’ll only be an eight-team league in 2023, expansion is bound to be on the mind of Vince McMahon.
Five games in, three teams out
Last season saw each XFL team compete in five games, which was half of the arranged schedule. In the two years since, three of those teams that challenged for the honor of potentially becoming the second-ever champions of the league have made a change. Luckily, three replacements have already been all but confirmed.
Leaving the XFL will be the Tampa Bay Vipers – who went 1-4 with a 1-1 home record to sit at the foot of the XFL East – as well as the 3-2 New York Guardians. The team based in New Jersey tied for the top record in the conference but fell behind the St. Louis BattleHawks and DC Defenders on one of the tiebreakers.
In the XFL West, the Los Angeles Wildcats will be departing. They went 2-3, having scored 18 touchdowns for a strong +4 in the net touchdowns column. However, LA and the rest of the league were quite some way off of the pace set by the blistering Houston Roughnecks at 5-0 in the XFL West.
With those three names departing, three more are set to step in to fill the slots. It’s more than likely that San Antonio and Las Vegas will be in the league in 2023, with the Sin City team set to reclaim its 2001 XFL team name: Las Vegas Outlaws. Also set to join is an Orlando franchise taking over from the Vipers.
Possible room for expansion
If the XFL’s first full season since its revival proves to be a success, there’s no doubt that McMahon and its other key investors will be hoping for some expansion teams in big markets. Easily the most important to target in US sports is the duo of New York and New Jersey.
For the 2020 league, gambling ties were said to be a core part of the operation by then-commissioner Oliver Luck. Now, both states are huge players in the online gambling scene. This is even to the extent that the Golden Nugget casino review by BonusFinder finds the platform to be loaded with over 850 games, all of which can be bet on from New Jersey.
Betting and casino gaming are getting more and more intertwined with US sports, so having a team in two of the biggest and most flourishing markets for gambling and sports would give the XFL a colossal boost. After New York or New Jersey, it’s time to look at other major markets in areas not yet represented.
For example, teams in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Georgia – particularly in the cities of Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, would offer a massive amount of market exposure. Each of those major cities has colossal populations with a proven affinity for sports, making them perfect for the XFL’s entertainment package.
In 2023, the XFL will return with a bang! If it sticks this time, there’s certainly potential for more teams to enter the fray.
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