The unofficial capital of sports betting is getting another pro team.
The XFL announced Sunday that one of the eight teams in its rebooted spring football league will be located in Las Vegas, while five other teams will be based in cities that were part of the previous iteration of the league in 2020.
Houston, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Texas, will all once again have teams after also being part of the most recent version of the XFL, which filed for bankruptcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic midway through its 2020 season.
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They will be joined by three newcomers: Vegas, Orlando, Florida, and San Antonio.
The XFL has revealed the home venues for all of the teams, and which of its previously announced head coaches will be based in which cities. But it has not yet announced team names or logos.
“We have been working on cool, new logos and innovative uniforms, that match the dynamic and innovative vision of our league,” XFL owner and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said in a statement. “We can’t wait to share in the electrifying excitement from fans once they meet their new ‘hometown team.’ We’ll see you at kickoff.”
That kickoff, per Sunday’s announcement, is set for Feb. 18, 2023 – the weekend after next year’s Super Bowl.
The rebooted XFL will be the latest spring football league to attempt to gain traction in the U.S., and it figures to be competing directly with the new-look USFL for second-tier talent next season.
The USFL, which recently concluded its first seaos back in action, had teams representing different cities but all of them played their regular-season games in Birmingham, Alabama. The XFL is going the more traditional route, with each team having a separate home base and venue.
The only city of the XFL’s eight that has not recently housed a spring football team is Las Vegas, which has had a lengthy and woeful history with pro football 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 it has hosted several other pro football teams in the decades since, including the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. But those teams have generally struggled to find a foothold in the market; One Locomotives game in 2012, for example, drew an announced crowd of 601 in a stadium that seats 36,000, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The XFL’s decision to put a team in Vegas is notable, however, given the city’s role at the center of the sports betting universe – and the way the previous version of the league embraced gambling as a way to build interest from fans.
Houston is another interesting host, given that the city already has teams in both the NFL (Houston Texans) and the USFL (Houston Gamblers).
Here’s the full list of host cities, head coaches and venues, as announced Sunday:
Arlington, Texas: Head coach Bob Stoops | Choctaw Stadium
Houston: Head coach Wade Phillips | TDECU Stadium
Orlando, Florida: Head coach Terrell Buckley | Camping World Stadium
Las Vegas: Head coach Rod Woodson | To be announced
San Antonio: Head coach Hines Ward | The Alamodome
Seattle: Head coach Jim Haslett | Lumen Field
St. Louis: Head coach Anthony Becht | The Dome
Washington: Head coach Reggie Barlow | Audi Field