Posts Tagged ‘Orlando Florida’

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.

Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams held a press conference Wednesday to announce his plan to bring a third Major League Baseball franchise to Florida.

The team will be called the Orlando Dreamers, and Williams revealed the official logo.

“Orlando keeps growing, folks,” Williams said. “And … sports needs to be a part of that. So, the next logical step in this sports growth is to try and become a Major League Baseball city.”

The Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins have had the lowest attendance numbers in MLB for two consecutive years, and the Tampa Bay franchise has been considered a candidate for relocation. The Rays have also explored the possibility of splitting the season between Florida and Montreal.

“We are proud of our strong fan support in Orlando, and we’re pleased to see their enthusiasm about Major League Baseball,” the Rays said in a statement issued Wednesday evening, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Williams isn’t concerned by baseball’s failings in Florida and considers Orlando to be a unique market, according to Joe Kepner of WFTV. He said that if 2% of tourists went to games, the club would bring in 1.6 million fans a year. Williams suggested that number could eventually rise to 3 million per season.

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Could WWE Chairman Vince McMahon be ready to throw down the gauntlet against Florida Gators legend Steve Spurrier? That could be the case.

According to The Orlando Sentinel, McMahon has proposed putting an XFL team inside Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, which comes on the heels of the announcement that an Alliance of American Football team, coached by Spurrier, will be put in UCF’s Spectrum Stadium.

While there will be a roughly one-year gap in between the launch of the Alliance and the XFL, John Saboor, WWE’s senior vice president of special events and former CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission, is aware of The Alliance and is confident that the Orlando area could support two teams, despite critics’ claims to the contrary.

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The NFL is moving the Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Orlando, according to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News.

Orlando’s Citrus Bowl will host the game, a venue that underwent a $200 million renovation in 2014.

Houston, Honolulu, and Sydney all vied for the league’s all-star game, per Soshnick.

Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium hosted the Pro Bowl exclusively from 1979-2008, and Miami’s Sun Life Stadium was used in 2009. Since then, Honolulu held the 2010-13 and 2015 games, with the University of Phoenix Stadium being utilized in 2014.

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NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal appeared on Inside The NBA today and talked about entering the third annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 to confront Big Show.

Shaq said it was a fun experience and called it amazing. He thanked the McMahon family and said when WWE called him, he had to accept the offer.

Shaq also said a match with Big Show “is going down” next year in Orlando for WrestleMania 33.

U.S. District Court Judge Anne C. Conway ruled against moving a lawsuit filed against Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston from Orlando to Tallahassee.

It should be noted that Tallahassee is the home to Florida State University, where the alleged rape victim and Winston went to school together.

Winston was never charged with a crime after Tallahassee and Florida State police investigated the case. After leaving Florida State, Winston was selected with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers.

The accuser filed the lawsuit against Winston in April, alleging Winston committed sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising of forcible rape.

One of the most storied players in school history, Winston went 27-1 during his career at Florida State, capturing both the Heisman Trophy and national championship in 2013.