Will the XFL Relaunch Land in El Paso?
By now, it's no secret that Vince McMahon is considering to resurrect his professional football league. The XFL last played in 2001, but McMahon has a new, self-funded company called Alpha Entertainment and he sold 3.34 million shares of WWE to give him $100 million towards funding his new project. ESPN's Darren Rovell tweeted yesterday that Alpha Entertainment filed for five trademarks for "XFL". Although McMahon himself has not addressed the XFL return, he could reportedly have an announcement late next month.
Relaunching the XFL could not come at a better time. The NFL's popularity has taken a hit over recent years due to players being upset with the league's new regulations on physical play. Many of the game's best players have come out publicly and criticized NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for watering down professional football. When McMahon first launched the XFL, many of his selling points to fans and players were exactly what the NFL currently lacks. He told people that there would be fewer rules than the NFL and he encouraged rougher play than the other leagues. However, TV ratings on NBC never achieved the success that the network was hoping for, and McMahon ended the XFL after just one season.
If the XFL does return, how many teams would McMahon want in his league? These questions will be better answered once the CEO of the WWE addresses the issue. One fan created his own XFL map of what he believes the second incarnation of the league will look like, and one of the 16 teams would play in El Paso.
A source close to UTEP informed me that he has not spoken with anyone from the WWE or Alpha Entertainment regarding the XFL coming to El Paso. However, the idea of the league bringing a team to the Sun City is not as far fetched as you would think.
El Paso and Juarez deliver a population of more than two million people, and the Sun Bowl would be a great venue to host XFL games. In addition, the renovation to the stadium would bring more revenue opportunity with added suites and a club area. El Paso has always been a great supporter of the WWE, and we have seen our community embrace the Hyundai Sun Bowl with attendance consistently nearing a sellout each year. The Miners also averaged 40,000 plus fans per home game from 2004-2006 when Mike Price delivered a pair of eight-win seasons and consecutive bowl appearances. El Pasoans would be excited about the prospect of an XFL team playing in the Sun Bowl. Let's hope that McMahon realizes El Paso's passion for his wrestling product would also be there for his football product.