The Tampa Bay Vipers may not be going anywhere, despite the rumors.
Among the court documents filed on 8/31/2020 (Second Supplemental Notice of Possible Assumption and Assignment of Certain Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases in Connection with Sale), was a notice of assumption and assignment for the lease of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.
Previously, news had spread about the possibility of the team being relocated to Orlando, but this seems to put that rumor to bed. We have contacted the team for clarity, and waiting to hear back.
Obviously, both sides retain their rights for the legal action to not take place. Raymond James Stadium, and the Vipers’ current execs could object. Fox and ESPN did, along with Houston. Those objections were just to clarify their intentions.
Originally all eight were on the Order to Reject Certain Unexpired Leases and contracts list. Not a surprise on a bankruptcy case, as anything that would make assets seem less attractive, would want to be shed quickly. A debt as large as a lease for a stadium would do that, especially if the debtor or buyer isn’t sure the lessee would continue doing business.
But as time went on, and of course some negotiations, Dallas, and LA were assumed and assigned. Houston was added late, after negotiating a deal for their cure amount, which ended up being brought up again in court, claiming it was short over $100,000.
For the XFL’s lease on the Vipers’ venue, Raymond James Stadium, to be assumed and assigned after the sale was finalized, is curious at the least. It definitely puts the relocation idea into question. There’s no reason to want to keep a lease active if you don’t intend to use it.
That said, not having the lease assigned just means there are no plans to continue using the venues. DC, St Louis, Seattle, and New York stadiums could negotiate with the new owners for renewal, or a whole new agreement.
Just like with Tampa, if a deal is worked out to continue using The Dome in St. Louis, they would be added to the aforementioned list. Problem is, they were the most expensive out of all 8 cities. Sources say the XFL was paying the same rent the Rams paid to use the stadium.
The Guardians playing in MetLife in front of 15,000 fans in a venue that holds as many 82,000 people, doesn’t equal a great experience for the crowd. Looking for a new stadium for all four of those teams isn’t out of the question either.
If a team is to go to Orlando, it would either be another franchise, or an expansion team.
Right now, looks like the Vipers will stay put in Tampa Bay.
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