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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November 27, 2019 at 5:54 pm
I think the first year are two it should be held in the city with the best record just to get the fans into it
November 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm
This is fair, but I’d rather not have home-field advantage for just one game to determine it all. Also, I feel like opting for the NFL draft city allows for more growth potential of the league overall rather than a particular team
November 27, 2019 at 6:26 pm
Kansas City great choice
November 27, 2019 at 7:18 pm
Best record, best attendance city, or domed stadium (St. Louis) so the weather doesn’t ruin the event.
I don’t see fans traveling well for the first few years for an XFL championship. You’re going to want a target of 40,000 fans attending to look good on TV (that should fill most lower bowl areas of a stadium where much of the TV camera is focused), so if it is a neutral city, then that should be announced ASAP and 30,000 tickets being pushed in that area now–at discount prices, and then hopefully sell 5,000 to each attending team’s population.
Best way to sell that to a neutral city with a new league is like the MLS tried…have a decent half time musical act and/or post game act. Celebrities attending help too, McMahon with his WWE background should be able to get some in. If needed, combine the game with a WWE event at the stadium the night before or post game to get people fired up (I doubt this happens though).
November 27, 2019 at 8:39 pm
I agree with some of the comments here by having the XFL Championship in the
city with the best record and if the records happen to be equal between the
two finalists……flip a coin. However, if the XFL needs a neutral championship site, fans will always love New Orleans or Las Vegas. Go Defenders!
November 27, 2019 at 9:57 pm
What about The Alamodome in San antonio for the championship game? its a football city without a football team.. both the Arena football league San Antonio talons, and the AAF San Antonio Commander teams have lead both unsuccessful football leagues in attendence
December 2, 2019 at 5:00 pm
That is a good option, but I feel like San Antonio will welcome the XFL regardless of them holding a game there or not. I’m trying to expand the pool of fans and improve the relationship with the NFL.
November 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm
I read somewhere that the city of Berkeley, California doesn’t want a pro football team playing at Cal after the bad experience they had with a Raiders game there.
December 2, 2019 at 5:01 pm
That is true but I don’t think there will be as much traffic for XFL as NFL. That was the main reason.
December 2, 2019 at 11:59 am
This article makes no sense. The reason why the XFL placed teams where it did was to generate a buzz in major media markets. They did not put teams in the traditional mid-major markets like Orlando and Birmingham … nor did they put teams in Berkley, Cleveland, or Vegas. Likewise, its preposterous to suggest the XFL would put there championship game there. Vince McMahon would be horrified to see a New York vs. Los Angeles championship game, for instance, being placed in Kansas City. McMahon and Luck learned their lesson from the 2000 version of this league. Butts in seats. Ratings. Generating a buzz. That’s what this league is trying to do. If you suggest otherwise, you really don’t have a clue as to what the XFL is all about.
December 2, 2019 at 5:06 pm
Berkeley is in a major media market(Bay Area), so is Cleveland, and so is Vegas. And who says they’d be horrified to put it there if there was fans available there? Remember, hundreds of thousands of fans will all be converging to these cities to see the NFL draft. Putting your championship game alongside it will attract curious football fans and people within the business of football. There’s a reason huge conventions and offshoot conventions in the same industry(like in video gaming with E3 and EA Play)are often nearby. It helps to draw if people are already around. AEW has done the same thing in the past. Ratings will come because fans of the league will watch regardless of the location of the stadium. This path could lead to huge growth in the future and still attract plenty of butts in seats for the present.
December 6, 2019 at 3:31 pm
Agreed. They aren’t going to play a championship in a non league city. If they want to test markets for interest they can play an exhibition game instead in Vegas, San Antonio, etc. Berkeley would be a terrible choice… McMahon with his connections to Trump, playing in Berkeley would be a catastrophe with protests.
December 6, 2019 at 6:30 pm
I mean, I don’t think they’d protest it just because Vince won’t even be seen around the league that much
February 2, 2020 at 11:34 am
An Exhibition game in San Antonio wouldnt be as sucessful as you think. Many are still sore over the AAF as we had the best attendance, the city was Home Base for the Training Camps, and in the end, burned for a millions. The area have been trying to get the NFL here for decades and many still believe our market could support a team in the XFL. A championship game would do well here but the fans wouldnt entertain a tease.
February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am
The league is likely waiting to see which cities draw the most fans in the first few games before making a decision. I agree with earlier comment that the league is trying to get more exposure for their product and to show that this is a legitimate league. I would think they would want to be assured of strong attendance. They will also likely pick a sunny location as more opportunities for traveling fans.
February 8, 2020 at 11:37 am