Wednesday, December 5, 2018

XFL Launch Date, Cities & Venues Announced, Plans For Game Changes

Vince McMahon XFL
As seen below, XFL officials hosted a press conference earlier today at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.



The press conference was opened by New Jersey Governor Phillip Murphy. He thanked Vince McMahon, WWE's John Saboor, XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck, and the entire XFL team. Murphy said Jersey is thrilled to welcome them. He also commented on today being a national day of mourning for President Bush 41, then pointed out various elected officials in the audience. Murphy touted how MetLife has hosted Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, the NFL's Super Bowl, among others. MetLife is currently home to two other professional football teams but they have room for a third, and Jersey couldn't be happier to be one of the host sites for the 2020 revival season. Murphy said it's not just what happens on the field that matters, it's the jobs, the economic impact of thousands of fans coming to the area. Murphy said the return of the XFL will be a welcome addition to many families across the region that rely on the stadium to stay strong.

Murphy added that the WWE brand has been a marquee name in American households for decades, one that has touched fans across generations and the world. Murphy thinks the XFL has everything they need right here in this region. MetLife and the Meadowlands will be ready when the XFL kicks off. Murphy introduces "the one, the only, the singular" Vince McMahon.

Vince wished everyone a good morning and thanked everyone for being there. He also thanked the 8 city representatives and the venues that the XFL is partnering with for the inaugural season. He also thanked the media. Vince said it's ironic that the original XFL started 20 years ago. He said a lot has changed since then and they are looking forward to bringing a more innovative, exciting product. The XFL will launch on February 8th and February 9th, 2020, the weekend following the Super Bowl. Vince said they are really looking forward to once again establishing an exciting, innovative form of football, one we've never seen before. Vince said so much has changed since then, citing social media and ways of distributing, plus other options that were not available before. With that in mind, Vince introduced a man who loves football, a man who brought all of this to life, one with impeccable integrity - Oliver Luck, the CEO & Commissioner of the league.

Luck called this a momentous day. He talked about how they have been seeking input from key stakeholders and fans, and they believe launching in 2020 will give them the time they need to get everything right. They believe they are well on their way to bringing fans a fast paced, high impact product with fewer stops and more plays. Their motto is "less stall and more ball" for the league. Luck said this is football re-imagined. They are paying great attention to player safety, a more advanced fan experience with technology. Luck said research shows fans want more football and the XFL intends to provide that. Luck said the XFL wants to compliment regular football. They have talked with other football leagues and players. Luck talked about how they launched their "Football Re-Imagined Committee" with the advisers that were recently revealed on the XFL website, plus media executives, health professionals and others. They held a series of meetings to talk about the game they love, how they will tweak that game for a familiar but innovative experience. They are looking at bringing a quality game played under 3 hours with meaningful on-field acts and changes to rules such as the play clock, kickoffs, extra points and more, including the in-game rhythm, the in-game flow. They plan to accomplish this by limiting game timeouts and TV timeouts, and by simplifying things. They are also improving player safety and making that a top priority. They are establishing an extensive health & wellness program with various professionals from several medical fields. The league is committed to listening to fans, connecting with them through surveys and focus groups. Luck said some of their best ideas so far have come from the fans. They will bring a product that is fan-centric, family friendly, with a good, solid in-game stadium experience that is affordable for families.

They are also working closely with venue partners on ticket prices and programs that will give fans access to players & coaches. Luck said this is critical to make the game day experience better for fans. Luck also said they are developing a state of the art mobile app that will be the hub for the XFL, featuring news, videos, scores, fan interaction with teams & players & each other. Luck said they are committed to establishing a health & wellness program with world-renowned medical experts. They are doing everything possible to keep players safe by partnering with 2 of the leading sports risk insurance companies. They will also test for performance enhancing substances. Luck also said the teams will all have the same budgets for player salaries, and they will offer very competitive salaries for all players. They have hired Doug Whaley as the Senior VP of Football Operations. Whaley previously worked with the NFL's Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. They also hired Roxanne Kosarzycki as the General Counsel. She previously worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and other teams. They have also partnered with Optimum Scouting to help find the type of players they hope to sign, and they feel they are well on their way to identifying team Presidents and Head Coaches, who will also serve as the General Managers for the teams. They will begin filling those positions during the first quarter of 2019. They are also looking to start signing quarterbacks and other players around that time. Luck said they are looking for the best players and coaches who want to be a part of something special. The vast majority of players will have college and NFL experience. Luck said there will be a XFL Draft, tryouts and a Supplemental Draft, which will take place in the summer of fall of 2019. The league will also invite players to tryout who have been cut from the NFL.

Luck said they are a big proponent of giving fans a safe and legal way to bet on games. They have been keeping an eye on sports gaming. He noted how some states have legalized sports gambling and they expect more states to legalize it by the time they launch in 2020. Luck also noted that the media partnerships are very important to the league. They are confident that their games will be widely available on multiple platforms for an incredible level of exposure. They have exciting news to share soon on the specifics of distribution.

Luck noted that more than 30 cities expressed interest in securing an XFL team. The league felt that it was important to not just look at coming into a city and renting a building, their goal was to establish true partnerships and build organizations that have a year-round presence in the cities. Luck said they are confident that they picked the right venues and cities to help with that goal. Luck prepared to introduce the 8 teams for the inaugural season and noted that they have been "thinking big" as Vince likes to think big.

MetLife Stadium CEO Ron VanDeVeen was introduced as a promo aired for the New York City team. Ron noted that the 10 year anniversary of the stadium starts in 2019 with WrestleMania 35 and ends with the launch of the XFL. He's been working with Vince and the WWE team for over 20 years, and he looks forward to a successful partnership for years to come. Luck introduced the Dallas team next as Neil Leibman of the MLB's Texas Rangers came out. He talked about the new stadium and said they are excited to partner with the XFL as the first tenant of Globe Life Park. Luck announced Houston next. Janice Burke, CEO of Houston Sports Authority, came out to speak. She said Houston is thrilled and they couldn't have picked a better partner than the University of Houston, as they have been passionate about this from the beginning. She also mentioned Bush 41 being a big sports fan from Houston. Luck introduced Katie Pandolfo of the StubHub Center next and she spoke about the Los Angeles team. Pandolfo spoke about how LA has seen 2 other football teams come in recently, and she's learned that LA has passionate football fans. Andrew Leonard and Kitty Ratcliffe of Explore St. Louis were introduced next to speak about the St. Louis XFL team. They are excited about bringing football back to St. Louis. Given Vince's history and his team, they believe fans in St. Louis will take to the new brand of football as they have with every WWE event that's been held in St. Louis. Ralph Morton of the Seattle Sports Commission was introduced next. He talked about how Seattle has diehard football fans and they hope to win the inaugural XFL Championship. Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan came out next to talk about the Tampa Bay XFL team, noting that the XFL could not have picked a more football-centric city. He talked about the various sporting events to be held in the city and how they say everyday is game day in Tampa. Erik A. Moses was out last to talk about the Washington, DC team. Moses said Major League Soccer fans have given rave reviews for the first year of Audi Field, and they know XFL fans will feel the same way. Moses said the sports capital of the United States is ready for the XFL.

The 8 teams and venues for the inaugural season were announced as the following:

* New York City - MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ
* Dallas - Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX
* Houston - TDECU Stadium
* Los Angeles - StubHub Center
* St. Louis - The Dome at America's Center
* Seattle - CenturyLink Field
* Tampa Bay - Raymond James Stadium
* Washington, DC - Audi Field

Luck noted that a quarter of the United States population is represented in these 8 cities combined, and a good chunk of the "I Hate It When Football Season Ends" fans are there. He also announced that fans can place a deposit on season tickets now before they go on sale to the general public. They will be making hires, announcing team names & logos, and more, in the coming months. Luck said the quality of football is their #1 priority, and they will do everything to get that right. Luck said the XFL will be fast paced, affordable, family friendly, interactive, and as technically advanced as possible. Luck ended the presser by saying the XFL is being built for fans and built to last.

Below are a few related tweets from today along with promos for each city from their new Twitter accounts:














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