It’s been more than three years since the Rams left our city for bigger and brighter endeavors in Los Angeles, California. And I think we can all agree that their exit left St. Louis football fans with a bitter taste in their mouths.
But the XFL, the football league co-owned by Vince McMahon and NBC, is well on their way to bringing America’s favorite sport back to the Lou.
A St. Louis Team, Born and Raised
On August 21st, the XFL announced that the Battlehawks would be kicking off their first season in Downtown St. Louis beginning in February 2020. The team will play out of the Dome at America’s Center, the old stomping grounds of the Rams.
According to league commissioner Oliver Luck, the Battlehawks will be the “first modern professional football team born and raised in St. Louis,” something that our city hasn’t experienced since the Blues were founded here in 1967.
Jonathan Hayes has accepted the position of the Battlehawk’s head coach after having been the Cincinnati Bengals tight end coach for the last 16 seasons. With past experience involving the Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, and the University of Oklahoma Sooners, Hayes possesses an extensive background coaching Midwestern teams and is thrilled to continue his career in our city.
What differentiates the XFL from the NFL?
For those who don’t already know, there are quite a few differences between the NFL and the new revamped XFL. For starters, the XFL games will be limited to less than 3 hours each, ensuring that the games are less dragged-out than games in the NFL. According to Vince McMahon, the co-owner of the XFL, the revamped league will not allow any players with criminal records, and also will not interfere with politics whatsoever. “People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” says McMahon.
According to Forbes, fans can expect to see XFL football reimagined in a ‘family-friendly’ way. “We want the XFL to be affordable for families,” said Oliver Luck, also adding that the league is hoping to set their ticket prices “significantly lower than other major sports.” So, St. Louis Sports fans can now attend games in real-time without having to bust their budget. But, if fans still decide to watch from home, Fox, ESPN, ABC, and FS1 will be broadcasting the XFL football games, each in their own exclusive window, as stated on STL Today.
According to Kurt Hunzeker, the president of the St. Louis Battlehawks, the way that the XFL does football is overall “different”. He says that the league provides an “opportunity where we get to build our playbook, where everything’s a blank canvas. It creates an opportunity where we can get really creative and have a lot of fun.”
One of these unique aspects he’s referring to is the leagues overtime rules. According to Hunzeker, the overtime is “going to resemble an NHL hockey shootout. It’ll bring fans to their feet and it’s going to be electric.” According to St. Louis Public Radio, the Battlehawks are also working with the St. Louis community to try and gather other ideas for the league, such as possibly allowing people to go out on the field before the game or letting viewers pick the music when each player hits the field at the start of the game.
New Spirit for the Dome at America’s Center
In recent years, the Dome at America’s Center, formally known as the Edward Jones Dome, has been used for conventions, concerts, and expos. While these events are frequently held in the facility, there has been no permanent or temporary tenant since the Rams left after the 2015 NFL season.
But with an overall capacity of more than 66,000 people, the opportunities that that this space provides Downtown St. Louis is massive, and clearly the XFL agrees. “I’m thankful for this incredible opportunity to be part of the team that is bringing football back to town,” said Hunzeker. He continued, saying that he’s excited to contribute to St. Louis’ “sports-loving community and look[s] forward to bringing reimagined football and fan-centric fun to the Dome in 2020.”
According to a report released by ESPN, the revamped XFL is spending close to $500 million dollars on its new league. Being backed by a budget this massive, it’s not hard to imagine that the league will go all out once they kick off in February.
With the announcement of the Battlehawks, there’s not only excitement for the city, but for the future of the Dome. There is finally a recurring event that the facility is able to host, and a source for new spirit (and new capital) to come through its doors. Not to mention the Dome’s surrounding hotels, restaurants and sports bars that will undoubtedly benefit from the presence of the team.
Get Fired Up!
With the name and logo of the team being released, not to mention the kickoff game quickly approaching, we’re getting more and more excited to see our city rally behind its newest team.
Want to be one of the first to cheer on the Battlehawks? Reserve your season tickets on the XFL website by purchasing a deposit today. This deposit will give you priority access to purchase season tickets before they become available to the general public, and will secure you a seat at each of the five regular-season home games at the Dome at America’s Center.