Posts Tagged ‘Host Venues’

The XFL, the spring pro football league fronted by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, took a big step toward finalizing its plans Sunday with a press conference that revealed the cities, venues and head coaches for its upcoming 2023 season.

The regular season is set to kick off February 18, 2023 with eight teams. Those include in newly announced cities — Las Vegas, Orlando and San Antonio — which are replacing existing teams in Los Angeles, New York and Tampa, FL. ESPN says those were the three cities with the lowest turnout in 2020, the league’s most recent season, which was halted midway through because of the Covid pandemic.

Two other XFL teams on the 2023 slate reside in Texas (Arlington and Houston), with other franchises in Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

All 43 XFL games will air on Disney platforms in a carriage deal announced in May by Garcia, the league’s chairwoman and owner, and her movie and TV producing partner Johnson, after the duo with RedBird Capitol Partners acquired the league for $15 million from Vince McMahon in 2020 after it had started bankruptcy proceedings.

McMahon originally bankrolled the return of the league, which he resurrected after a 20-year absence. It had played just one season previously, in 2001, as joint venture between McMahon’s WWF (now the WWE) and NBC.

This year’s games will air on Disney platforms ABC, ESPN and FX.

“We’ve had a clear vision for the XFL – the values to instill, the diversity of our leaders, the innovation of the game and how we want to deeply engage with our communities so they can help bring this vision to life. Today, our league takes another step closer to 2023 kickoff as we officially announce where our teams will play,” Garcia said today during a press conference livestreamed on the XFL’s YouTube channel. “What brings a league to life is the passion of the fandom behind it. In each of these cities we will co-create with our fans and build these teams from the ground up so that they represent the unique fabric of our communities. We welcome all football fans to join us as we get ready for kickoff in February.”

Along with the cities, the league revealed its head coaching assignments with most names familiar to football fans: former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops (Arlington), Wade Phillips (Houston), Terrell Buckley (Orlando), Rod Woodson (Las Vegas), Hines Ward (San Antonio), Jim Haslett (Seattle), Anthony Becht (St. Louis) and Reggie Barlow (Washington, DC).

Said Johnson, who was coming off his appearance at Warner Bros’ Black Adam panel at Comic-Con in San Diego, added: “I’m psyched to reveal the cities that our players will have the chance to represent and compete in. This is another massive moment for the XFL, and I’m ready to feel the electricity our dedicated fans will bring to these iconic venues.

“There is great energy building within our league and there is still much more to come… and I can promise it’s going to be worth the wait. We have been working on fresh, new logos and uniforms – even working with some of the team names you already know – that will match the dynamic and innovative vision of our league. We see you, we hear you and your excitement fuels us to continue to bring you the absolute best. We have just under seven months until kickoff and the countdown is officially on.”

The NHL will discuss the possibility of returning to a bubble for the 2021 postseason, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on “Saturday Headlines.”

The league hosted the 2020 playoffs in separate bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton. Whether or not the same measures will be used depends on how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, Friedman adds.

Over 33,000 tests were administered during last season’s 24-team playoffs, and zero positive results were returned. Teams entered their respective bubbles on July 26, and the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28.

Nearly every team has had at least one player enter COVID-19 protocol since the 2020-21 season began Jan. 13. The Vancouver Canucks currently have 14 players on the COVID-19 list, and the Brazil variant of the coronavirus has reportedly infected some of those players.

The regular season is scheduled to end May 8, with the postseason beginning May 11, but those dates are subject to change if the league needs to reschedule games.

The Vancouver Whitecaps will call Utah home next season, at least to start.

The Whitecaps announced today that they will play home games in Sandy, Utah, at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of MLS rival Real Salt Lake. The move is necessitated by travel restrictions between Canada and the United States due to the pandemic.

“We are very thankful to John Kimball and the entire Real Salt Lake organization for welcoming us into their family, their facilities, and providing a home away from home,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC CEO and sporting director. “We will have a first-class set-up in Utah including an exclusive training pitch, gym and locker room. Also, special credit to our operations team as this is a monumental undertaking and player care is an important focus at our club.”

Vancouver’s season-opener on April 18 will technically be a home game, in Utah, against the Portland Timbers. Portland is where the Whitecaps hosted six matches last fall, where they actually compiled a decent “home” record of 4W-2L-0D.

While the Whitecaps jet off to Utah, Canada’s other two MLS franchises will call Florida home. Toronto FC will host matches at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, while CF Montreal will play their games in Miami at Inter Miami CF Stadium.

Vancouver’s second match of the season is set for April 24 against Toronto FC, in Orlando. MLS has only announced the home openers for each of its 27 clubs, with the complete regular season schedule to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Utah will be the Whitecaps’ home to start the season, but the club is still holding out hope that they could return to Vancouver before the end of the 2021 campaign. That will depend on the success of vaccine rollout in both countries, of course, though given that the MLS season stretches into the fall, it is a realistic possibility that the Whitecaps could return to BC Place this year.

“We will absolutely miss seeing and hearing our fans at BC Place to start the season,” added Schuster. “Rest assured, our main objective is to play as many of our home games in Vancouver as possible. We’re working very closely with the league and public health officials and look forward to a time when our fans can safely attend matches at BC Place once again.”

The Whitecaps are currently conducting training camp in Vancouver, with the intention of relocating to Utah in April. The team has 29 players currently signed for the 2021 season, including 24 returning players — the most since 2017 — and five new additions. Youth will be served, as 17 Whitecaps players are 23 years old or younger.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that all venues in the state that can host a minimum of 10,000 people are now permitted to host fans at 10% capacity beginning Feb. 23, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews.

Spectators will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before the event in question. Fans will also be assigned socially distanced seating and be required to undergo temperature checks and wear face coverings while attending.

Cuomo cited the Buffalo Bills hosting 7,000 fans during the recent NFL playoffs as an “unparalleled success,” opening up a similar opportunity for the state’s other major sports franchises.

The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are on track to be the first New York teams to welcome fans back under the new arrangement. The Nets will host the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 23 at the Barclays Center, while the Knicks will welcome the Golden State Warriors on the same day to Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks announced they intend to host “roughly 2,000 fans at every game.” Madison Square Garden normally has a maximum capacity of 19,500 people.

Brooklyn is still awaiting approval by the NBA, according to Andrews.

On a recent episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about the relationship between Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon. Bischoff, being great friends with Hogan for many many years, says Hogan and Vince have had one of the more dysfunctional relationships he’s ever seen. He also discussed Hogan talking to Vince while he was with WCW during the Monday Night Wars about a possible return to WWE, and stated that he was never worried about Hogan leaving.

“Hulk and Vince, they’re like the most dysfunctional married couple in the world,” Bischoff said. “To this day, look up love/hate relationships and those are the two names that are going to pop up. Even when Hulk was with WCW, he would tell me if he had a conversation with Vince. We were in Denver one night and he said he was going to meet Vince for a drink in his hotel room. I was aware and I was also very much aware that Hulk was a master negotiator, he loved to keep his options open, he loved to have his leverage.

“By that point, Hulk and I became pretty good friends, beyond just work friends. Just based on the conversations he and I had, real casual conversations, the things he said led me to believe there was no way he was going to leave the relatively comfortable environment in WCW and jump back into the shark pool that was WWE. I was aware they were speaking but I really wasn’t concerned.”

Bischoff also discussed Hogan’s fractured with Jesse Ventura, and noted the two were at odds after Hogan told Vince that Ventura was trying to get wrestlers to unionize.

“My recall on that was it went back to the time Jesse Ventura was trying to get the talent in WWE to unionize,” Bischoff said. “Word got back to Vince through Hulk and that created a bit of a s–t show and that’s where Jesse harbored a lot of his resentment towards Hulk. I always assumed that was the source of the issue, if there was something more to it I’m not sure what it was.”

WWE announced WrestleMania dates and locations for the next 3 years last week. Bischoff said he was surprised to hear about them being able to have a crowd for the coming show in April.

“That was odd wasn’t it?” Bischoff asked. “You know who I’m happy for the most? The performers. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to go out there and have a match without a crowd. Especially for experienced talent who have worked in front of a crowd for 10-15 years and developed that direct connection. They affect your timing as well as your energy as a performer. For week, after week, after week to go out there and perform in front of no crowd has got to be challenging. I can only imagine. They won’t work for free, but they’ll feel like offering too, it’s going to be great.”

Bischoff also said he recently saw Hogan and talked to him about his appearance on Monday Night RAW earlier this month. He said he felt bad for Hogan because he wasn’t able to be around the talent.

“When he told me he was going to do it, I was really excited for him,” Bischoff said. “Hulk misses [wrestling], it’s his life. He’s a little bit like Ric Flair in that respect, wrestling has become so much a part of who he is, he’s not just Terry Bollea playing Hulk Hogan in this wrestling show, he’s Hulk Hogan just like Ric Flair is kind of Ric Flair.

“I asked Hulk, it must have been exciting to be backstage and seeing everybody not thinking. But you can’t hang out backstage, everyone is in COVID gear. You’re over here in this bubble and they are over here in that bubble and you can’t go back and forth and visit. So I was really disappointed for him and I can’t imagine what that’s like for the other talent, it’s got to be rough.”

WrestleMania 37, 38 & 39’s locations and dates have all been revealed by WWE.

During a creative (if surreal) promotional video, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks, and John Cena all helped announce the news regrading where and when the next three ‘Manias will be going down.

This year’s ‘Mania 37 has been moved from the original date of March 28 and is set to be yet another two-night affair, airing on April 10 & 11, with WWE seemingly doubling down on last year’s pirate-themed Show of Shows. Also, the comapny will finally be bringing their showpiece event to Tampa, Florida’s Raymond James Stadium after pulling the show due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

WrestleMania 38 will then arrive in Arlington, Texas’ AT&T Stadium on April 3, 2022. This stadium is obviously famous for being the location where WWE reportedly broke their attendance record at WrestleMania 32, with a whopping 101,000 fans in attendance.

And finally, ‘Mania 39 will take place inside of Los Angels’ SoFi Stadium on April 2, 2023. As you’ll likely remember, this ‘WrestleMania Goes Hollywood’ event was initially set to go down at ‘Mania 37. However, it’s clear that those plans have been seriously effected by the current global situation and WWE’s reaction to it.

On top of all this, it appears that the company will be trying to reintroduce fans to their arenas at this year’s event, with WWE’s official press release on the news stating that they “will announce ticket availability and safety protocols for WrestleMania 37 in the coming weeks.”

For now, though, let’s all just celebrate the fact that we won’t have to endure 9 hours of ‘Mania content in one single sitting…in 2021, at least.

The Toronto Raptors could be based out of Kentucky in 2020-21.

The KFC Yum! Center, home of the NCAA’s Louisville Cardinals, has been suggested as an alternate option to host the Raptors next season if they cannot play in Toronto due to federally imposed travel restrictions, sources told Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill.

The league is reportedly expected to discuss the situation on an upcoming call alongside a variety of other topics.

Businessman Junior Bridgeman, a former NBA player and Louisville star, has apparently been in contact about the potential relocation.

The Raptors face a unique predicament within the NBA as the league’s only Canadian franchise. Currently, all travelers entering Canada must immediately quarantine for 14 days upon arrival by law, making it nearly impossible for the franchise to operate as usual out of the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.

The land border shared with the United States has also been closed since March to all non-essential travel, with Canada recently extending restrictions through Nov. 21.

Other professional sports franchises in Toronto have also had to find new temporary homes in the U.S. recently. The Blue Jays moved to their Triple-A ballpark in Buffalo for the 2020 MLB season and Toronto FC is currently playing out of East Hartford, Connecticut, to finish the MLS campaign.

Major League Baseball is following the lead of the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League and will play its postseason in a bubble amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.

While the league is still working out details with the MLBPA, the World Series will be played at the Texas Rangers‘ new stadium, Globe Life Field, in Arlington.

The first round of the playoffs, which includes eight teams from each league, will take place at the top seed’s home ballpark, Kepner adds. However, teams move to neutral sites beyond the first round.

Earlier reports indicated two separate playoff bubbles – like the NHL – housing the two leagues, with the National League playing across two ballparks in southern California and the American League playing in Texas. That would mean the home of the Los Angeles DodgersLos Angeles Angels, and San Diego Padres could be in the running to host Senior Circuit clubs, while the Junior Circuit would play at Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park – the Houston Astros‘ home field.

This will be the first time in league history postseason games will be played at neutral sites and the first time since 1944 that a single stadium hosted every game of the Fall Classic. That year, the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals made the World Series while they both called Sportsman’s Park home.

V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09

Major League Baseball is considering yet another way to get the 2020 season on track, with Texas joining the fold as a potential host state, CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson reports.

Teams would use minor- and major-league stadiums located in Texas, Arizona, and Florida in order to get the season underway, and one source expressed guarded optimism regarding the latest plan’s feasibility, Anderson adds.

The Texas Rangers‘ new ballpark, Globe Life Field, was set to host its inaugural season this year and boasts a retractable roof that could safeguard against further delays. The Houston Astros‘ Minute Maid Park is also equipped with a retractable roof, but it’s unclear whether it would be included in the Texas plan due to its distance from Arlington.

Chase Field in Phoenix and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg would likewise be part of the plan, according to Anderson, while Marlins Park could be an option if teams are permitted to travel to Miami.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been vocal regarding his desire to bring sports back amid the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting earlier Monday that NASCAR is working on a return to Texas Motor Speedway “very soon.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also expressed a desire to bring NASCAR back to his state.

Giants Diamondbacks Baseball

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said his state is willing to host all Major League Baseball teams when it’s deemed safe to do so, according to ESPN.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that he believes sports can return in 2020 without fans in attendance amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It was reported last week that MLB is exploring the idea of playing at spring training sites in Arizona as early as May.

“Arizona, at the right time, is very open-minded to hosting whatever Major League Baseball would like from the state,” Ducey said Tuesday. “At the time that it would be appropriate for public health, if Arizona were in a position to reopen, we have the facilities that are here.”

He added: “We have the hotel space that is here. We all want to make certain that the metrics and the data are proper before we’re able to go forward, but I think two words that would allow the country and the state of Arizona to know that things were headed back to normal would be: Play ball!”

The state is home to 10 spring training ballparks and the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Chase Field.