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“All Our Teams, Are Actually Playing in Their Cities” XFL’s Dany Garcia on XFL vs. USFL Hub Concerns

This past Monday, XFL executives along with members of the Arlington City Government met at Choctaw stadium in front of a packed house to announce the XFL’s home base of operations or “hub” for the next 3 years as the city of Arlington. Players will be housed, fed, and trained in the city of Arlington and will travel to the other seven XFL markets (Seattle, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Houston, Washington D.C., St. Louis, and Orlando) for their weekend matchups as the schedule dictates.

XFL President Russ Brandon spoke glowingly of the city and his hope to truly embrace Arlington as a true “home” of the XFL for at least the next three years after a signed agreement.

“Our goal was to be an active member of a community.”

For viewers of the recently completed USFL season, which took place entirely in Birmingham, Alabama save for the playoffs and championship game in Canton, Ohio, the idea of the XFL locating their entire base of operations in one central location gives flashbacks to the empty stadiums of the USFL whenever the non-local (for USFL it was Birmingham) teams were playing.

Although the XFL will by flying their teams into the local markets to compete in home stadiums during the weekend for their games, concerns have been raised for months about truly being able to connect with the local non-Arlington fanbases when the entire league of operations, training camps, and player housing is located in only one of the eight teams represented in the 2023 XFL season.

I was at the press conference and following media scrum featuring Chairwoman and owner Dany Garcia, Owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Russ Brandon, and I asked each of them how the XFL would prevent the stigma that arguably tainted most of the successes that the USFL found in the successful completion of its inaugural season by casual fans constantly bringing up the lack of fan support in attendance. Dany Garcia responded,

“Well, all our teams are actually playing in their cities. So I think as compared to the USFL, where they played all centrally in their hub, our teams actually will practice here then will disperse to the cities and our coaches will be spending time, and the XFL, we will be committing to our communities and our cities, building relationships, we’ll have staff in our cities.”

“So each one of our cities will have XFL staff developing real relationships. So we won’t see that as a problem.”

Following the media frenzy that was Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson’s interviews, a few reporters including myself stuck around for an extended talk with XFL President Russ Brandon. I had spoken with Mr. Brandon previously at the Arizona Showcase last Friday, and it was great to get his comments on the record. In regards to the XFL vs. USFL hub dilemma, Mr. Brandon had this to say,

“That’s funny is that, you know, when you’re in the NFL, the only day that you really have to interact is on Tuesdays, right?”

“We have plans to be very active in our communities and be a very active member of the community be in and out of our communities. Whether we come in early, we stay late in the off season, we’ll be fully embedded in each market that we’re in.”

So what say you? Is the XFL’s plan of a “modified” hub the way to successfully save money while also building relationships with the fanbases in each of their eight cities? Do you have confidence that the XFL is willing and able to spend the marketing dollars they need to be relevant in all eight markets? Or is the XFL and their plans of establishing staff in all eight markets spending too much money too fast for the return on investment they’ll see in year one of the 2023 XFL season? Please sound off below, and for the full, unedited interviews with Dany Garica, Dwayne Johnson, and Russ Brandon plus the entire Arlington hub press conference, please check out the video below!

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The Markcast® is a sports-centric podcast hosted by Reid Johnson, covering news and opinions related to the CFL, XFL, USFL and other "alt-football" leagues outside the NFL.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Keannah Moore

    July 27, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    As a St. Louisan, I’ll admit it makes me a little uneasy to know it won’t be exactly like last time. It’s not earthshattering, but I’ll have to come to terms with it. Something tells me they’re pulling their punches in terms of information they’re sharing regarding the potential dilemma, so I’ll rest on the fact that I don’t know what I don’t know and see how their plans play out.

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