XFL-AAF Stadium Comparisons

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XFL-AAF Stadium Comparisons

Post by MikeMitchell » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:08 pm

These two leagues are going to be compared to one another everyday for the next couple of years. Unprecedented, you got two spring pro football leagues launching within a year of each other. The two fathers of the original XFL, Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol are on different sides trying to give life to a concept they started together 17 years ago. Every single aspect of each league is going to be scrutinized and compared to one another.

We can't start with player or team names as of this moment but let's take at the two league's stadium choices.

Atlanta Legends- Georgia State Stadium Capacity: 24,333
Birmingham Iron- Legion Field Capacity: 71,594
Memphis Express- Liberty Bowl Capacity: 58,207
Orlando Apollos- Spectrum Stadium Capacity: 44,206
Arizona Hotshots- Sun Devil Stadium Capacity: 57,078
Salt Lake Stallions- Rice Eccles Stadium Capacity: 45,807
San Antonio Commanders- Alamo Dome Capacity: 64,000
San Diego Fleet- SDCCU Stadium Capacity: 70,561

Dallas- Global Life Park Capacity: 48,114
Houston- TDECU Stadium Capacity: 40,000
Los Angeles- Stub Hub Center Capacity: 30,000
New York- MetLife Stadium Capacity: 82,500
Saint Louis- The Dome Capacity: 66,695
Seattle- Century Link Field- 69,000
Tampa Bay- Raymond James Stadium Capacity: 65,618
Washington D.C.- Audi Field Capacity: 20,000

The AAF went with college football stadiums exclusively. The San Diego and San Antonio Stadiums have hosted NFL games in the past. Obviously The former QualComm was The Chargers home. The AAF has 5 stadiums that range from 50 to 70k capacity. The two largest being San Diego and Legion Field in Alabama. The smallest stadium being the home of Atlanta at 24k. Charlie Ebersol admitted in an interview with Rich Eisen that he sought permission to go into two NFL markets in Atlanta and Arizona. Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck did no such thing. Filling these stadiums is going to be tricky. One of the things that the AAF has going for it is being in predomonently warm climates in February with the exception of maybe Salt Lake. 6 of their teams are in non NFL markets. Good because those places presumably want pro football. Bad because places like those have failed in the past generating interest because they have never been pro markets with millions of football fans starving for something during the spring. 3 of the XFL original cities are in this league with Birmingham, Memphis and Orlando. The real coup for AAF was snagging Las Vegas to be their neutral site championship host city. Sam Boyd Stadium seats 35K and was also a former XFL city site.

The XFL went large markets with 5 of the top 10 tv markets, 7 of the top 13 and all 8 cities in the top 20. The AAF has 1 with Atlanta. Even with the focus on big time football markets. The XFL's stadium choices are varied. They have only 1 stadium over 70k capacity with MetLifeStadium, which you can argue is a very risky choice, trying to fill an 82k capacity stadium. The 2nd largest stadium in all of pro football. There are 3 other stadiums in The XFL that are in that 60k plus range. The Dome, The Link and Raymond James. Filling these stadiums up will be no simple task. Ticket pricing will be key. Even though these are big time NFL cities with passionate football fan bases. The key to filling these stadiums will be the coach and the quarterback. You gotta have marquee or city friendly names to get people to come out. Guys like Tebow, Manziel etc.... Oliver Luck mentioned that their stadiums would be a mix. He wasn't kidding. You got 1 college football stadium, 1 baseball park, 2 MLS stadiums and you got 4 NFL stadiums. 5 if you count the Stub Hub Center but that's really an MLS stadium.

My favorite part of these stadium choices? Audi Field at 20K and Stub Hub. You can argue against LA but that is a massive market and getting 20k in a 30k stadium is better than what the original XFL had with The Colisuem. Outside of maybe the Link, Audi Field has a chance to be the league's best atmosphere. It's going to look great on TV and will have a chance to be packed every week. The two Texas choices are intriguing. That's the hottest football state in the country. Rather than going with MLS stadiums, they banked on being able to fill mid-size stadiums in Dallas and Houston. Global Life seats 48k, while The Houston Cougars home of TDECU seats 40k. The perfect sizes in a market where you hope that you can draw in more than 25k per game. You'll get fans from both cities going to each other's games.

One of the benefits to announcing team cities and venues more than year out from kickoff is that you have more time to sell tickets. Theoretically, once the full league schedule is set. Without even having players or coaches. The league can start selling tickets to games more than a year before the games even start. Imagine buying a ticket to see St.Louis play at home on opening night in December of 2018. A full 13 months before the game is even played.

Ultimately, I like both league's choices for stadiums for the most part. Just getting these stadiums and schedules is hard work. Vince McMahon is putting serious money into his league. So as a businessman, i am not surprised that he's setting up shop in places with the most football consumers. You can argue for or against that but it certainly fits his personality.

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