Week 1 of the XFL is a mere 10.5 weeks away, yet still, speculation remains over the location of the XFL Championship game, with the league seemingly far from actually announcing a location.
Perhaps, there is a hint from the league that they are at least considering Las Vegas due to the placement of the Wildcats mini camp at UNLV, but that’s about as far as the trail leads.
Meanwhile, ambitious XFL fans are already charting out locations for future XFL teams, even though it is unlikely we see new teams for at least the first 3 seasons. Which locations provide the XFL the best turnout, in addition to other potential benefits?
Nowadays, the NFL Draft rotates its city annually, hosting the draft in a prominent outdoor location. Last year, over 600,000 fans attended the NFL Draft in Nashville. With loads of football fans descending upon the town, an affordable, quality football game could be quite attractive for them to attend.
Therefore, it is key ticket prices stay affordable, even for walk-up tickets on game day. Also, hosting in an NFL Draft City helps attract eyes from the business of football, as many agents, coaches, scouts, NFL executives, and football media outlets will be in attendance, which could only benefit the league’s search for talent acquisition and coverage.
Once the XFL solidified itself as a spring football league, the league may want to consider other options, but for now, the NFL Draft cities, for the most part, offer the XFL the most potential for growth.
With that being said, here’s a look at what the schedule would look like over the next 4 years:
2020: Las Vegas, Sam Boyd Stadium
The original XFL had a cult following in Las Vegas. Perhaps the league could re-ignite that past by holding a championship game there.
While the XFL would have to negotiate with AMA Supercross to get the stadium for April 26th, the event that day is their amateur championship, so I doubt there would be much conflict as long as McMahon and Luck get in touch with the American Motorcyclist Association, who runs the event, with time to spare.
A capacity of only 40K makes the stadium at least 75% fillable as well for year 1, as 30K is probably a reasonable draw considering the hundreds of thousands of draft attendees around town. Furthermore, Vegas could be a good option for expansion many years further down the line, so re-introducing the league to the market could build excitement for a future team that brings back those classic Outlaws colors.
With the stadium being a short 25-minute drive from the strip, the game is quite accessible to fans who are at the NFL Draft. Finally, consider the sponsorship and performance opportunities the league could pursue among the various casinos, sportsbooks, and entertainment companies in town. There is enormous potential for the league to profit here, and I am definitely a member of the crowd that hopes the XFL Championship game comes here for year one.
2021: Cleveland, FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland offers the XFL a chance to be more ambitious with their 2nd championship city.
This is a huge step up from UNLV’s stadium to fill, but keep in mind that in addition to the Draft fans in town, thousands of potentially depressed Browns fans could be hungry for a good game. Also, at a capacity of only 67K, which is below average for an NFL stadium, if the XFL can fill 40K seats, which is achievable for year 2 if the league takes root, then it still won’t look too bad.
With the Draft being held near the Browns stadium, fans will be in even closer proximity to the game. Finally, Cleveland is a good long term expansion option, as the XFL would only have to compete with the Cavaliers and Indians during the spring, and if the Browns continue to disappoint, fans may latch onto a more successful team similar to how the league hopes the DC Defenders will turn out. Likely, a team wouldn’t come until at least the 2nd round of expansion, similar to Vegas.
2022: ?????/Berkeley, California Memorial Stadium
Berkeley could be a more immediate opportunity for the XFL to promote their league where a team could be placed in the first round of expansion.
If the city ends up in a place like Boston or Atlanta (a place I have advocated for before, but since changed my mind), it may be best to stay away due to the wide variety of options in those cities. However, the location could also be in Green Bay or Indianapolis, and perhaps the XFL should consider going there.
In the event the XFL opts to avoid the Draft that year, I suggest they pair an announcement of a planned expansion team with a championship game being held at California Memorial Stadium on the campus of UC Berkeley and prove to the UC Berkeley admin that a team belongs there. 35,000 fans on average showed up for the original XFL’s San Francisco Demons, and now, the Raiders will be gone, opening up even more abandoned NFL fans for the XFL to appeal to that would be only 15 minutes or so from Berkeley.
Not to mention, over 40,000 students attend UC Berkeley, giving the XFL an additional pool of people to appeal to in April, and a pretty strong attendance. With a proven track record, I think UC Berkeley would be willing to give the XFL a shot, and if 50K fans come, that could bolster the XFL’s case in pursuing an expansion team there.
2023: Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City has little else but the Royals and Sporting KC going on during April, so placing the championship game here makes plenty of sense.
This could be a statement game for the XFL, especially if Battlehawks fans travel to attend. If the XFL can sell 55-60K seats in Arrowhead, that would be a huge sign of a brand that can truly last 100 years as they hope.
Arrowhead is only a 20-minute drive from the planned NFL Draft site at Union Station, so fans will still be able to make an easy trip to the game. Not to mention, even KC could be a potential expansion site in the coming years due to the lack of competition in the spring.
What do you think? Which cities would you prefer for the championship game? Let me know on twitter @Maxscouts or in the comments below.
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