Where Will Vince McMahon’s XFL Teams Play? Los Angeles, New York Are Crowded NFL Markets

Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL on Thursday, 17 years after what was marketed as a brash rival to the NFL failed to make a second season.

McMahon, the impresario of World Wrestling Entertainment, hasn’t yet revealed which cities the ten XFL teams will play in. Here are some of his options, and their problems.

Los Angeles

The city already has two teams in the Chargers and Rams, although both teams have had problems attracting fans to watch their games live.

USA Today reported in November that the Chargers had failed to sell out any regular-season games at StubHub Center up to that point.  

FiveThirtyEight calculated in September that the Rams were suffering the NFL’s “worst attendance decline in decades.” And the Rams were actually good this season. If Los Angeles isn’t keen on the NFL in its traditional garb, could an XFL team based in L.A. really draw people away from the Lakers in the spring?

New York

The XFL had a team in the New York metropolitan area the first time around. The New York/New Jersey Hitmen shared Giants Stadium and went 4-6 in 2001. McMahon wants teams in “large and medium-sized markets,” according to ESPN. New York would fit the large descriptor but does a city with so many professional sports choices really need another team? Maybe if the XFL were launching this spring, a New York-based team could capitalize on the horribleness of the Giants and Jets. By 2020, though, New York may be in love with the NFL again.

Chicago

The Chicago Enforcers reached the inaugural, and final, XFL playoffs in 2001, losing to the Los Angeles Xtreme in the semifinals. Chicago accommodates two baseball teams, although any Windy City-based team would be competing against the Bulls and Blackhawks. Still, this seems a better prospect than several of the other major markets.

Las Vegas

Vegas is already getting Jon Gruden’s Raiders, of course—a move that should happen around the same time as the XFL starts up again. Even with the shockingly successful Golden Knights now in residence, there are surely enough inebriated high rollers flying in and out of Sin City to support another football team.

Birmingham

The NFL would never dare to venture into the teeth of the Crimson Tide. McMahon, who had the Thunderbolts here in the days of the first XFL, may like the challenge of going up against college football.

Connecticut

For Alabama and the Tide, read New England and the Patriots. Taking on Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft sounds too much like wrestling’s ‘Monday Night Wars’ for McMahon not to take on the challenge. Plus the Patriots may be in the post-Brady era by 2020 and therefore useless.

San Diego

For everyone in San Diego sad that their team got ripped away and everyone outside San Diego who thought the Chargers were kind of cool and appreciated the uniforms. And for anyone who can see the business sense in putting a pro football team back in the United States’ eighth-largest city.

Des Moines

Stuck in between the Vikings, Packers and Chiefs and with elite college football programs, it’s understandable why the NFL has never touched and will never touch the Hawkeye State. But if McMahon is serious about exploiting medium-sized markets, places like Des Moines are the kinds of places he may be looking at.

Join the Discussion