The XFL, the second attempt at professional spring football under that brand name, has disclosed its team names and logos, the latest milestone in its preparations to begin play early next year.
The eight teams set to debut in February 2020 are the Dallas (Texas) Renegades, DC Defenders (Washington, D.C.), Houston (Texas) Roughnecks, Los Angeles (California) Wildcats, New York Guardians, St. Louis (Missouri) BattleHawks, Seattle (Washington) Dragons, and Tampa Bay (Florida) Vipers.
The team identities, developed with both internal creative resources and outside agency assistance, were all designed to carry a bold, forceful feel in line with the nature of the sport itself, but without the over-the-top demeanor the original XFL featured with franchise names such as Rage, Maniax, Demons, and Xtreme in its lone season in 2001 before folding. The Roughnecks logo in particular features a direct callback to the one used by the National Football League’s former Houston Oilers franchise.
“The XFL is about football and fun, and our team identities are intended to signify just that,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL president and chief operating officer. “Now it’s up to our fans and players to help write the story.”
The announcement of the team names and logos was streamed simultaneously on XFL.com, the league’s social media channels, as well as ESPN.com and FoxSports.com, with talent from both of the latter sports networks joining XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck with the presentation.
The teams will be playing next year at a mix of facilities currently or formerly occupied by NFL teams, Major League Baseball ballparks, and Major League Soccer and college football stadiums.
The XFL has taken a variety of steps in an effort to avoid the crash-and-burn scenario that caused rival spring football entity the Alliance of American Football to fold earlier this year and file for bankruptcy after just eight weeks. Foremost among those efforts is taking a full two years after initially announcing the XFL’s return as “professional football reimagined” to plot out its operations in advance of starting play this coming February.
Luck, meanwhile, has a lengthy sports industry track record that includes executive stints with the NCAA, NFL, and West Virginia University, as does Pollack, formerly with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, World Series of Poker, NASCAR, and the National Basketball Association. The XFL earlier this year also signed a two-year partnership with Elevate Sports Ventures to help guide ticket sales for the eight teams.
Vince McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment chairman and chief executive, is the primary force behind the new XFL, as he was the prior one. But instead of the new iteration being part of WWE, he has created a new entity, Alpha Entertainment, that is the new XFL’s parent entity. McMahon earlier this year sold $272 million of WWE stock to help support the XFL rebirth.