HOUSTON, TX — In case you haven’t heard, the XFL is making a come back and has announced the first 8 franchises that will take the field in 2020. You may be scratching your head thinking you’ve heard this catchy name many moons ago, and it’s because you have.
In 2001, the XFL made its first debut under the auspices of league co-founder Vince McMahon, formerly of the World Wrestling Federation — now known as World Wrestling Entertainment and NBC. The old XFL was one and done, and there is hope that the new XFL will be better than its former self.
XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck made the site announcements in New York Wednesday morning. Luck is a familiar face from his playing days with the Houston Oilers and as the former CEO of the Houston Sports Authority.
The new XFL owned by Alpha Entertainment, which is owned by McMahon, will have eight teams again, many in major cities, such as Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington DC.
All of those teams, except St. Louis, have an NFL franchise. The inaugural season will kick off in February 2020 with an expected eight-game season.
The new Houston team, which has not been named, will play at the University of Houston’s TDECU stadium.
UH Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman was hired just as the WWE announced it was relaunching the league. Knowing how influential the WWE is in sports and entertainment, Pezman jumped on the chance to put in a proposal as a host site.
"For us, we’re trying to be as creative as possible monetizing the investments we made in our facilities on campus, which have been significant,” said Pezman. "We were very actively pursuing the opportunity in all aspects."
Pezman also knows Luck extremely well. They lived in the same area when Pezman, a former UH football player, was UH’s Senior Associate Athletics Director for Facilities and Luck was CEO of the Houston Sports Authority.
Pezman said he is looking forward to working with Luck again, and that as the commissioner, Luck will help give the new rebooted league credibility for this second go-round.
Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority, couldn’t be more excited that Houston was chosen to have an XFL team.
"It’s certainly another feather in our cap,” she said. "We’re hosting so many great events in the near future and now to have another professional team just underscores what a great sports city we are.
"This is going to be an exciting and relatively affordable brand of football. With only an eight-game regular season schedule, and just four of those games at home, the experience even from a season ticket standpoint, is perfect for families, students, and all football fans alike. UH is such a great partner and I know they will knock it out of the park.”
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Image: Courtesy/Harris County Houston Sports Authority: Pictured are Janis Burke, Chris Pezman, Oliver Luck, David Taglia, and Chris Massey announcing Houston’s XFL Franchise