The unofficial capital of sports betting is to get another professional team.
The XFL announced Sunday that one of the eight teams in its restarting Spring Football League will be in Las Vegas, while five other teams will be based in cities that were part of the league’s previous iteration in 2020.
Houston, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Texas, will all have teams again after they were also part of the latest edition of the XFL, which filed for bankruptcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic midway through the 2020 season.
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They will be joined by three newcomers: Vegas, Orlando, Florida and San Antonio.
The XFL has revealed the main stadiums for all the teams, and which of the previously announced coaches will be based in which cities. But it has not yet announced team names or logos.
“We’re working to create cool, fresh logos and innovative outfits that fit the dynamic and innovative vision of our league,” XFL owner and representative Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said in a statement. “We can’t wait to share the exciting excitement from the fans once they meet their new ‘hometown team’. We’ll see you when the match kicks off.”
The kick-off, according to Sunday’s announcement, is set for February 18, 2023 — the weekend after next year’s Super Bowl.
The restarted XFL will be the latest football league in the spring to try to gain traction in the United States, and is expected to compete directly with the new-look USFL for second-tier talent next season.
The NFL, which recently finished its Marine first game again in play, were teams representing different cities, but they all played their regular games of the season in Birmingham, Alabama. The XFL goes the more traditional route, with a separate base and place for each team.
The only city in the XFL eight that hasn’t hosted a spring soccer team recently is Las Vegas, which has had a long and sad history with professional soccer teams outside of the NFL’s Raiders, who moved there from Oakland in 2020.
The city was home to the Las Vegas Outlaws in the original version of the XFL in 2001, and has hosted several other professional soccer teams in the decades since, including the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. But these teams have generally struggled to find a foothold in the market. For example, a Locomotives game in 2012 drew an advertising crowd of 601 people at a 36,000-capacity stadium, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
However, the XFL’s decision to put a team in Vegas is notable, given the city’s role at the heart of the sports betting world – and the way the previous edition of the league embraced gambling as a way to capture fan interest.
Houston is another interesting host, given that the city already has teams in both the NFL (Houston Texans) and the USFL (Houston Gamblers).
Here is the full list of host cities, coaches and venues, as announced Sunday:
Arlington, Texas: Bob Stops coach | Choctaw Stadium
Houston: Technical Director Wade Phillips | TDECU ملعب Stadium
Orlando Florida: Coach Terrell Buckley | Camping World Stadium
Las vigas: Coach Rod Woodson | It will be announced
San Antonio: Coach Heinz Ward | amodome
Seattle: Technical Director Jim Haslett | Cavity field
Saint Louis: Coach Anthony Becht | the dome
Washington: Coach Reggie Barlow | Audi Field