Archive for the ‘XFL’ Category

The XFL has cemented the cities it will play in upon its return to play in 2023 and assigned coaches to the teams, Pro Football Network reported Sunday.

XFL teams are set for three Texas cities — Houston, Dallas and San Antonio — as well as Seattle, Las Vegas, Orlando, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

The XFL named the coaches in April and still have not officially announced the cities. The league also has not confirmed where each coach will be assigned.

Per Pro Football Network, Wade Phillips is heading home to Houston, where he went to college and once was an assistant coach with the NFL’s Texans. He also was the head coach of the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys.

Joining him in Texas are former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who will lead the Dallas team, and Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Hines Ward, who will be the head coach in San Antonio.

Stoops was the head coach of the Dallas Renegades in the XFL in 2020 before it ended the season prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett will coach the Seattle team.

The four other teams will be led by first-time head coaches at the pro level: Reggie Barlow in Washington, D.C., Pro Football Hall of Fame member Rod Woodson in Las Vegas, Terrell Buckley in Orlando and Anthony Becht in St. Louis.

Ward also is a first-time head coach.

The rebooted XFL is scheduled to begin play Feb. 18, 2023, less than a week after the NFL plays Super Bowl LVII at Phoenix.

Cross one legal headache from Vince McMahon’s list of things to worry about.

Settlement talks had broken down between McMahon and Oliver Luck, who had been commissioner of the rebooted XFL football league. Vince claimed the executive had been fired for cause; Luck believed it was a cost-cutting move ahead of shuttering the whole operation at the start of the pandemic.

Luck was suing for the roughly $24 million in compensation he said he was due. McMahon’s counter-claim focused on Luck’s signing of wide receiver Antonio Callaway, whose 2018 legal issues violated the league’s mandate to not sign players with any off-the-field issues. In depositions, Luck’s lawyers brought up McMahon’s own felony charge from his 1994 federal steroid trial, seemingly to demonstrate the mandate was hypocritical.

Last Wednesday (June 15), as we learned the Luck suit was headed to trial in July, the Wall Street Journal’s report on the WWE Board’s investigation into alleged misconduct by McMahon hit. Vince has since stepped down from his roles as CEO & Chairman, with his daughter Stephanie assuming those responsibilities on an interim basis.

Sports Business Journal now says a recent court filing shows that Luck & McMahon have agreed to settle. In a June 17 brief to the court requesting the remaining records in the case be sealed, Luck’s lawyer Paul Dobrowski wrote: ”The parties reached an agreement to resolve this case on June 16, 2022.” McMahon’s lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, does not oppose the motion.

Terms of the settlement are unknown. But with this off their plate, McMahon & McDevitt can focus on defending Vince during the board’s investigation into alleged hush money payments to former WWE employees.

In a story entirely unrelated to the Vince McMahon news currently dominating the cycle, the WWE Chairman is set to go to trial over a compensation claim relating to the XFL.

The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reported that McMahon and former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck are suing each other after settlement talks broke down after just nine minutes.

Pro Football Talk had the full story, noting that Luck is suing McMahon for $23.8million in compensation from his former XFL contract after providing a personal guarantee that he’d be paid. In response, McMahon has countersued with allegations that the XFL’s parent company Alpha Entertainment incurred damages of over $572,000 as a result of Luck breaching his contract and associated duties.

McMahon officially relaunched the XFL under the Alpha Entertainment banner in January 2018, with the football itself kicking back off in February 2020. Operations were subsequently suspended at the onset of the global pandemic, and Luck and the rest of the XFL staff were all let go in April. XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings just days later.

The pair will go to trial on July 11th.

Now that the XFL has a significant broadcasting agreement in place with Disney/ESPN, one of the next tasks for the league is to nail down in which cities their planned eight teams will be playing.

There seems to be some tough decisions ahead for the league. Of all the XFL teams that played in 2020, the one that everyone is convinced is a no-brainer to return is the BatttleHawks from St. Louis, MO.

With the success the XFL had in the St. Louis market in 2020, they would have to be bonkers not to work out a deal to return to the Gateway City.

The rumor mill has been talking about the league looking for a stadium deal in St. Louis for weeks. More recently, Frank Cusumano of KSDK, reported that The Dome at America’s Center had reserved five weekend dates for next spring, for possible XFL home games.  It was an odd rumor to hear they had reserved five dates, which led to the thought, “Which dates?” However, it is possible they penciled in some flexible spots for use by the XFL.

One important factor that seems to be coming up more and more lately is the time remaining until the XFL’s 2023 season. It seems there is much to do, such as getting sponsorship and selling tickets. However, all of these things have to wait until the league decides in which cities it will commit to playing.

Rumors of an XFL Announcement

Earlier today, Randy Karraker, co-host of Karraker & Smallmon, 101 ESPN, posted an outright announcement on Instagram that the St. Louis team would be announced on June 1st.

Details are sketchy, perhaps we will hear more next week, and hopefully an official announcement from the league. As well, we don’t have confirmation that the team would retain the name “BattleHawks.”

But why wouldn’t they? There does not seem to be any reason to rebrand such as successful organization as the St. Louis XFL team.

It was announced on Tuesday at Disney Upfront, that the XFL has reached a multi-year agreement with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN.

The multi-year agreement is from 2023 to 2027. Each season’s 43 games will air on ABC, ESPN networks, and FX.

The 2023 season will kick off on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

Below is the full press release:

NEW YORK – May 17, 2022 – The XFL today announced a new, global multi-year agreement with The Walt Disney Company (“TWDC”) and ESPN, which includes exclusive broadcast rights for all gameday content, tentpole events and more, for its upcoming 2023 season through 2027. Each season, all 43 games (40 regular season games, two playoffs, one championship) will be featured on a combination of ABC, ESPN networks and FX. Additionally, the agreement includes exclusive content rights across TWDC and ESPN’s digital, social and direct-to-consumer outlets such as ESPN+. The XFL is excited to officially announce its 2023 season will kick off on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

The announcement was revealed today at the Disney Upfront, where XFL owners Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson were in attendance and presented the news.

“Without question, we have long admired Disney’s distinct ability to engage an expansive consumer fanbase across verticals, while also maintaining a deeply authentic, nuanced and heartfelt approach to storytelling much like our own,” said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman of the XFL. “To find a partner that honors our foundation and to be able to root our vision of unwavering passion, accessibility and the future of football with Disney as our home, is a dream come true. We are extraordinarily excited to explore the endless possibilities of this partnership – today is surely just the beginning.”

“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”

Dwayne Johnson added, “This is a definitive moment for the XFL and the beginning of an incredible, long-term partnership for the league, building on my longstanding, very successful legacy relationship I’ve had with Disney throughout my career. We’re excited to be working with global visionaries that are aligned with the XFL’s values, are true team players and share our ambitious goals to grow the XFL as a global sports and entertainment business. Through the combined power of Disney, ESPN and the XFL, together we will create a new powerhouse on the sports calendar and bring a dynamic game of football to fans everywhere. Time to ball out.”

Gerry Cardinale said, “With today’s announcement, the XFL has launched a truly innovative partnership with The Walt Disney Company and its world-class platforms across media, culture, sports and entertainment.  It is a privilege to join forces with the incredibly talented team at Disney and ESPN and bring Dany and Dwayne’s vision for world-class football and live event entertainment to our fans and players.”

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As we’ve noted, the XFL went into bankruptcy after the COVID-19 pandemic brought an early end to their return season in the spring of 2020. WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon had sold the league to The Rock, along with business partners Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital in August of 2020, for $15 million.

The XFL snagged some high-profile coaching names for its 2023 return.

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips and ex-Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward are among eight XFL head coaches, the league announced Wednesday.

Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, former Virginia State coach Reggie Barlow, ex-NFL tight end Anthony Becht, former New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett, and ex-NFL cornerbacks Terrell Buckley and Rod Woodson round out the XFL’s coaching group.

Stoops is the only returning coach after guiding the Dallas Renegades for the league’s ill-fated comeback season in 2020.

“This is yet another huge moment for the XFL,” said league co-owner Dwayne Johnson. “I have experienced firsthand the positive influence and impact that coaches can have on a player’s life, and with our group of smart, accomplished, and motivating head coaches, I expect nothing less.

“Not only will these coaches be mentors to our players, but they will be a big part of the cities in which we will operate.”

The XFL didn’t announce which teams the coaches will lead. The 2020 lineup of clubs included the Renegades, St. Louis Battlehawks, Tampa Bay Vipers, New York Guardians, Seattle Dragons, Los Angeles Wildcats, D.C. Defenders, and Houston Roughnecks.

COVID-19 forced the XFL to end its first campaign since 2001 after completing half of its scheduled 10-week season. The league filed for bankruptcy, and Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital purchased it for $15 million later in 2020.

The XFL is set to kickoff in February 2023.

The XFL continues to connect themselves with the NFL.

XFL has announced a partnership with the NFL Alumni Academy, which will see the NFL help the returning league with scouting and training resources and will see members of the NFL Alumni Academy, automatically receive XFL deals at the end of the season.

From XFL:

NEW YORK – April 11, 2022 – The XFL today announced it has entered an exclusive partnership with the NFL Alumni Academy, an elite in-season training program for “NFL Ready” players led by former NFL coaches and players. Together, the XFL and the NFL Alumni Academy will enhance the football ecosystem by combining their scouting and training expertise to develop the next best players in the game and offer more opportunities to play professional football.

“This is a monumental partnership not only for the XFL, but for the entire football ecosystem,” said Russ Brandon, XFL President. “The NFL Alumni Academy has found great success over the past two years training and mentoring up-and-coming players, many of whom have gone on to play in the NFL, and we are collaborating to create another avenue of opportunity for players to showcase their talent. We are completely aligned in our player-centric philosophy and we’re eager to continue to explore the bounds of this partnership.”

The XFL and the NFL Alumni Academy will work together to identify the highest caliber players to train at the NFL Alumni Academy, leveraging combined resources and expertise to seek quality talent. Upon completion of the NFL Alumni Academy at the end of the NFL season, each player will automatically receive an opt-in contract with the XFL. The goal of this partnership is to enhance the entire football ecosystem by extending player cycles and expanding professional playing opportunities that are also complementary with the NFL season and off-season.

“What makes a league successful is its players, which is why we take a holistic approach to player development at the NFL Alumni Academy, ensuring they have skills and resources needed to excel both on and off the field,” said Dean Dalton, Executive Director at NFL Alumni Academy. “We are really excited for this strategic partnership with the XFL, which will have a positive ripple-effect across the entire football landscape.” Dalton added. “We want to thank our marketing agency, WaV Sports and Entertainment, for bringing The NFL Alumni Academy and XFL together for this unique initiative”.

The NFL Alumni Academy develops and trains the top available free-agent football players during the NFL season in preparation to sign an in-season contract with NFL teams looking to replace 500+ active roster players lost each season due to injury. The Academy has successfully placed players on NFL team rosters each season. Entering its third season in 2022, the NFL Alumni Academy is increasing the number of players and expanding the positions welcomed into its program, providing even more players the opportunity to train at the highest level. In addition to providing an elite football training forum, the NFL Alumni Academy offers off-field development opportunities including life skills, cognitive training, and mind-body wellness programs.

The XFL is rising from the ashes and is reportedly eyeing San Antonio as home to a franchise.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch said Friday that Head Football Coach Reggie Barlow resigned from his position at Virginia State University to take the job in San Antonio.

Barlow coached at VSU for six years with an overall record of 34-16. He previously played in the NFL for five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, one season with the Oakland Raiders and two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (including one Super Bowl win in 2003).

The XFL has not confirmed what cities will be represented on the 2023 roster, nor has the City of San Antonio weighed in.

The football league filed for bankruptcy after suspending games five weeks into the 2020 season over the global COVID-19 pandemic. The XFL was acquired later that year by Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners for $15 million.

“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things – my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said in October 2020. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

San Antonio was famously home to the Commanders in the Alliance of American Football League. The Commanders reportedly pulled in more than 27,000 fans per game at the Alamodome before the AAF went under eight weeks into the inaugural season.

Oliver Luck’s lawsuit against Vince McMahon finally has a trial date. According to the Sunday Daily Update on F4W Wrestling Observer, the trial will begin on July 11 of this year, on the orders of Judge S. Dave Vatti. As part of the update, it was noted that WWE is claiming Luck destroyed evidence within an hour of being terminated by the XFL.

This is the first firm trial date regarding the lawsuit since Oliver Luck filed against Vince McMahon in the spring of 2020. Previously, Connecticut US District Judge Victor Bolden had set two separate deadlines regarding the lawsuit; a February 4 joint trial memorandum, with the hopes of the trial date being set for March 7.

Judge Bolden had previously made several other rulings regarding the case in September of 2021. He dismissed Luck’s claim that McMahon violated “the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing”, while also refusing to dismiss the same claim against Alpha Entertainment, the private enterprise Vince McMahon founded when restrating the XFL. Luck also named Alpha Entertainment in his lawsuit.

A former football player, long-time football executive, and the father of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Oliver Luck was hired by the reformed XFL in 2018 to serve as its commissioner and chief executive officer. He served in the role until April 2020, when he was fired by Vince McMahon two days after the league filed for bankruptcy. The XFL’s reboot season was forced to suspend play a month earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Less than two weeks later, Luck sued Vince McMahon and Alpha Entertainment for wrongful termination and is looking to collect $23.8 million in salary and bonuses owed to him. For their part, McMahon and Alpha Entertainment would later countersue Luck in January of 2021.