While solid news as to what the XFL-CFL collaboration will look like has yet to drop, this partnership has opened up a world of possibilities for both leagues. Amid rumors of larger international aspirations, concerns from CFL fans looking to preserve their traditions, and XFL fans eager to see their teams back on the field, there is a much simpler issue to consider.
The CFL has 9 teams, and the XFL has 8. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a potential super league having an odd number of teams, but 18 franchises would seem a much more solid front than 17.
Dany Garcia & The Rock have had expansion on their minds ever since they bought the league, and though they “love the XFL with 8 teams”, it appears they are ultimately aiming at adding more down the road.
Cities across the country have been gunning for teams of their own, and there are 5 cities in particular which seem well positioned to one day boast an XFL franchise. Should league ownership decide to even out with the CFL, any one of these would make an excellent destination for the XFL’s 9th team.
Oakland just watched the Raiders pack their bags and move to Las Vegas. Seeing your team leave has to be hard on any fanbase, and this is a city hungry for football. With strong traditions, this could be a great venue for an expansion team. If Ring Central Coliseum and the Black Hole could host a football team again, Oakland’s fans would likely jump at the opportunity, though they would have to figure out scheduling with the Oakland A’s into spring.
St. Louis and the BattleHawks proved that cities with empty nest syndrome after losing their NFL teams are great markets for the XFL, and Oakland would be a solid bet to build on this fact.
Philadelphia was one of 21 cities who registered domains for XFL teams back in 2018, and they would make a great addition to the league. Another city with rich football history, they have a hardcore fanbase to support a team. They’ve been big supporters of other alternate teams over the years, most notably the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL, which was one of its more successful franchises.
It seems some of the best venues for teams to play in last spring were soccer stadiums, and Subaru Park is an 18,500 seater nestled right alongside the Delaware River.
Birmingham’s city council actually made a push to get an XFL expansion team last year, and this would be a natural marriage. Birmingham hosted the Thunderbolts in the original XFL, and though the state has ‘Bama dominating the SEC every fall they’ve yet to have a long-term pro team there. Seasons with the Thunderbolts and the AAF’s Iron proved they can support a new team, and Legion Field is aptly titled “The Football Capitol of the South”. It’s known for being the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers and UAB Blazers throughout its history.
This venue has hosted pro teams from the XFL, AAF, WFL, AFA, USFL, WLAF, and even the CFL during their American experiment in the 90s. To permanently call this place home would be a great benchmark for the historic stadium, and Birmingham would welcome a team with open arms.
San Diego, CA
Yet another on the growing list of cities who’ve lost their football team, San Diego supported the Chargers for decades before they hightailed it to Los Angeles. The San Diego Fleet of the AAF had the third-highest attendance leaguewide, and a team here would build a natural rivalry with the LA Wildcats.
Though I don’t sense as much animosity towards the NFL as there was in St. Louis, the loss of the Chargers stung, and they seem ready for a new team to root for. The only potential snag here is that Qualcomm Stadium has been demolitioned, and the only real option would be to play in SDSU’s Aztec Field, which is scheduled to finish construction in 2022.
If the XFL wants to sell tickets, why not bring a team to the city that has sold out every single Broncos game for the past 51 years? This is a standing record in the NFL today, and there’s no greater proof that this city loves its teams. Denver even sold out the stadium in the Kyle Orton years, and have continued to do so in 5 straight losing seasons since Peyton retired. That’s loyalty.
This city even led the USFL in attendance during its inaugural season with the Denver Gold, packing an average of 41,000 fans into Mile High Stadium. Now, an XFL team could possibly set up shop in Empower Field, but if they’re looking for a slightly cozier venue, Boulder’s Folsom Field would be a good fit with ~54,000 seats, or Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is another 18,000 seater soccer field that could be an option.
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