WWE mastermind Vince McMahon is bringing the XFL back from the dead and awarding Dallas a shot at sports legend or infamy in 2020. In an afternoon press conference, XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck, sometimes known as father to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, announced Dallas would be one of eight cities to represent a team in the startup football league. More precisely, Arlington won the honors, and home games will be played in a by-then vacated Globe Life Park.
This news confirms speculation that rose up after a list of eight cities, Dallas being one of them, leaked on the XFL website Dec. 1. No response was given at the time of the leak, but it was widely assumed the announced press conference from MetLife Stadium would not provide different cities as franchise recipients. This would be the first official press conference since McMahon announced Jan. 25 he would revive the short-lived football league.
The full list of XFL cities and stadiums:
New York, MetLife Stadium
Dallas, Globe Life Park
Houston, TDECU Stadium
Los Angeles, StubHub Center
St. Louis, The Dome at America’s Center
Seattle, Centurylink Field
Tampa, Raymond James Stadium
Washington, D.C., Audi Field
The league is planned to kick off Feb. 8, 2020, after the Super Bowl. The league is to be considered a complement to the NFL rather than a competitor, designed and sold as a way to give football fans year-round entertainment. While one of the main complaints about the first incarnation of the XFL was the poor quality of play, Luck appeared optimistic about attracting talented players to fill the rosters.
“Hundreds of players are cut every year from NFL teams,” Luck said in front of press and owners. “September 1 is the big, big cut-down date. I think this past year over 900 players were released from NFL rosters. They cut down from 90 to 53. We plan to invite those players to try out for the XFL.”
No media partnerships for broadcast of the games have been announced or formed yet. NBC had previously agreed to two seasons for the first run of the XFL in 2001 before backing out of the second year in response to declining ratings. McMahon explored other possibilities to broadcast a second season, ultimately deciding to hang a closed sign in the window that was the XFL. It’s been estimated that both NBC and WWE lost $35 million on the venture.
The goal with McMahon and company is to learn from their mistakes on the first attempt, when publicity stunts such as claiming they were taking a live camera into the cheerleader’s locker room were a frequent occurrence. The focus in the press conference was to create a football league that promises faster play, less stop and start, or as Luck said, “Less stall and more ball.”
Luck also said there was an active effort to guarantee lower ticket costs compared with other professional sporting events, but no concrete numbers were offered.
After Dallas was announced, Neil Leibman, COO of the Texas Rangers, took to the podium to express his excitement about the incoming team.
“When the Rangers and the city of Arlington agreed to build a new ballpark for a much-needed retractable roof, the Rangers made an absolute commitment that Globe Life Park would remain as a cornerstone of the entertainment district,” Leibman said at the press conference.
It’s still a long wait for opening day in 2020, but this gives McMahon and Luck enough time to avoid past failures. The league today has no coaches, team names or players, but starting immediately, fans can put down deposits on season tickets at the XFL website.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.