Posts Tagged ‘Houston Texas’

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 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.

The Arizona Coyotes affirmed their desire to remain in the desert after rumors circulated Thursday that the club is up for sale with a plan to relocate to Houston.

“This is false. Totally false. We’re not selling. We’re not moving. The Coyotes are 100% committed to playing in Arizona,” the team said, per ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman denied the relocation report as well, calling it “completely false,” according to Craig Morgan of Phoenix Sports.

Relocation rumors have hung over the Coyotes for much of their existence. While ownership says it’s steadfast in its intention to keep the team in Arizona, the franchise faces major uncertainty as early as next season. The city of Glendale announced in August it won’t renew the operating agreement next season for city-owned Gila River Arena – where the club has played since 2003-04.

The Coyotes filed a bid for a new facility in nearby Tempe in September, but the evaluation process is ongoing.

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AEW has announced that Dynamite will debut in Houston, Texas this April.

It was announced today that the April 29 edition of AEW Dynamite on TNT will be held at the Fertitta Center on the campus of the University of Houston. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 12 noon ET and will start at $30.

AEW used World Champion Chris Jericho, World Tag Team Champions Kenny Omega & Hangman Page, The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, Cody Rhodes, Sammy Guevara, and Britt Baker on the promotional graphic.

On a related note, AEW has also opened up more seats for the Dynamite episode scheduled for March 25 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, which will be their debut in the Tri-State Area.

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Week one has ended for the XFL and week two is about to begin. In just a short while the playoffs will begin as well. It was previously announced that the League Championship game will be on Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. ET. The Eastern Championship Final will be on Saturday, April 18 on FOX while the Western Championship Final will be on Sunday, April 19 on ESPN. Now we know the details of where the finals will take place.

According to the XFL, Houston will host the 2020 XFL Championship game. The game will take place inside TDECU Stadium, home of the Houston Roughnecks. The initial training facility of the XFL was inside TDECU Stadium.

“We’re tremendously excited to have been selected as the site for the XFL’s championship game,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “This league has animated football fans from across our region, and we look forward to continuing to showcase Harris County as one of the greatest sports towns in America. We want to thank the league for choosing Houston and we look forward to welcoming football fans from across the nation to what is sure to be a memorable championship game.”

“Houston is a great all-around sports town with top-notch facilities, an amazing community of football fans and a solid infrastructure,” said XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck. “We are grateful to the city and the Sports Authority for opening its doors once again to the XFL and we look forward to welcoming fans from across Texas, as well as the entire country, to join us in celebrating this special moment in XFL history.”

The Roughnecks beat the Los Angeles Wildcats 37-17 last Saturday on FOX. It was the second game of the XFL’s relaunch. TDECU Stadium can fit over 40,000 people and has held a number of special games, including the Bayou Bucket and an American Championship. The stadium also hosts the University of Houston Cougars football team.

The last XFL Championship was during its initial run in 2001. Dubbed the “Million Dollar Game”, the Los Angeles Xtreme beat the San Franciso Demons 38-6 inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Attendance was 24,153 and the MVP of the game was placekicker Jose Cortez.

“It’s fitting that the XFL’s first season will start and end in football-loving Houston and we’re honored to play a pivotal role in the launch of this new league,” Burke said. “Houston is known for hosting major sporting events and the XFL Championship will only strengthen our reputation. We’re thrilled to give football fans in this city the opportunity to experience the excitement of XFL football on the league’s biggest stage.”

Tickets for the XFL Championship will be available to the general public in March. Ticket prices will be released next month, with priority status given to founding XFL season ticket members. You can get your tickets at XFL.com/tickets.

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One of the most colorful figures in NFL history will look to join the XFL by any means necessary. Chad Johnson, aka Chad Ochocinco, will be testing his luck with the league. The longtime wide receiver, however, will be testing his feet, trying out as a kicker.

Johnson took to Twitter regarding the announcement, stating, “The opportunity to kick in the XFL has presented itself, i must tryout Monday in Houston, I’m excited as hell & I’m sure all will go well.”

The tryout will be taking place in Houston, where all eight teams will be for training camp. Camp began on January 4 and ends on the 22. Johnson’s chance to try out will be on Monday the 20th. The six-time Pro Bowler stated his desire to kick back in December when he showed a practice video on Instagram.

“I’m going back to the @nfl as a kicker next year, i spoke with Goodell and i will get the opportunity. I’m good from 60 & 70 yards if i had a cleat on my plant foot.”

Drafted 36 overall in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, Johnson spent his time with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2001-2010. He spent his last NFL season with the Patriots in 2011 before joining the Canadian Football League for two years and Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional de Mexico in 2017. In the NFL, Johnson caught 67 touchdowns for over 11,000 yards.

Johnson actually has a bit of a history as a kicker. During the 2009 preseason against the Patriots, Johnson kicked an extra point, which was good!

Jon Jones got his wish for his next title defense.

The UFC light heavyweight champion will take on Dominick Reyes in the headline fight of a pay-per-view event in Houston on Feb. 8, UFC president Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

Jones, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, had an array of options for his next title defense, including Reyes, Corey Anderson, and Jan Blachowicz. 

However, the 32-year-old tweeted earlier in November that the undefeated Reyes is the “more dangerous fighter” after studying his potential opponents with his team.

Jones (25-1, NC) is coming off a split-decision victory over Thiago Santos in July. He previously beat Alexander Gustafson in December 2018 to regain the vacant 205-lb title before earning a unanimous decision win over Anthony Smith in March.

Meanwhile, Reyes (12-0) most recently knocked out former champion Chris Weidman in the first round of their October fight for his sixth straight win inside the Octagon.

The light heavyweight king’s event is yet to be labeled due to uncertainty surrounding Conor McGregor’s scheduled return, which is targeted for Jan. 18. If the Irishman does return, his card will be UFC 246 and Jones’ will be UFC 247.

The Houston card also reportedly has another title fight in the books, as Valentina Shevchenko will defend her UFC flyweight championship against Katlyn Chookagian.

James Harden is giving back to the city of Houston.

The Rockets star donated more than $240,000 this weekend to renovate basketball courts that were ruined by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

At an event Saturday to mark the donation, Harden said he wants to become a legend off the court and hopes the renovations will convince kids in the area to get more active.

“My ultimate goal is to change Houston and make it better,” Harden said, according to Ben DuBose of RocketsWire. “Obviously the hurricane affected this area greatly so this was one of the reasons why I wanted to bring some positive energy and some light on this community.

“It’s baby steps but we’re going to get there. In a few years, we’re gonna change the city around and make it legendary.”

Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane that formed in the Atlantic Ocean in August 2017 and unleashed devastation across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Southern United States. Within the U.S., Texas and Louisiana were hit particularly hard, with many areas of Houston’s metropolitan area subjected to severe flooding.

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After successfully running Phoenix, AZ’s Chase Field this year – staggeringly selling over 5000 more tickets than the arena was configured for, if official figures are to be believed – WWE will be returning the Royal Rumble to a baseball stadium for next year’s event.

The company announced via the Houston Chronicle that Royal Rumble 2020 will take place at the city’s 41,168 capacity Minute Maid Park, current home of the Houston Astros, on 26 January.

WWE Executive Vice President of Special Events John Sabor commented:

“We had a wonderful experience at Chase Field, and that underscored our excitement with the decision to place the 2020 Royal Rumble at Minute Maid Park,” said Saboor, the company’s executive vice president of special events.

“We want to expose the WWE brand and its events to as many people as possible, and the size of facilities in which we present our major events is a key catalyst.”

Apparently, discussions to bring the Rumble back to Houston for the first time since 1989 began last summer. The event twenty years ago, won by Big John Studd, was held at The Summit. Today, the venue is used as a megachurch.

Fans at this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber, emanating from Houston’s Toyota Center, will have the opportunity to sign up for a Royal Rumble 2020 pre-sale.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is believed to have recently met with Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to discuss the viability of a team in that city, according to Katie Strang of The Athletic.

The meeting reportedly took place within the past few weeks, although Bettman would not confirm when contacted by The Athletic.

He did say the league is not looking to relocate any teams at the moment, but added a caveat in regards to Houston.

“If Houston were to express an interest in having an NHL franchise, under the right circumstances, it’s something we might want to consider,” he said.

Fertitta purchased the NBA team back in September for a reported $2.2 billion, and has expressed a strong interest in bringing an NHL club to Houston.

The Rockets play at the Toyota Center, which opened in 2003 and can hold 17,800 when fitted for a rink.