The XFL has announced it will move the “Demons” franchise to Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco.
(18 September 2000) — The day was Monday the 10th of July, 2000. The headline on XFLBoard.com had read: Do you know the way to San Jose? We’d like to think that this 1968 Burt Bacharach song title had something to say about the XFL decision to start-up a franchise in this progressive bay area city.
Almost ten weeks later the franchise was moved to San Jose’s “big brother” — San Francisco. To coin another song title, this time from Dean Martin, “Ain’t that a kick in the head”.
The reasons for the move are plentiful, according to the XFL. For starters, they never did come to a deal to play in Spartan Stadium. Secondly, the new stadium in San Francisco, Pacific Bell Park, is much better for the Demons franchise mostly because it will hold many more fans.
But hold on a minute! The XFL did not have a deal with Spartan Stadium? Didn’t the 10 Jul 2000 press release say that the San Jose Franchise would play in Spartan Stadium. We checked our records. The title of the press release is “XFL Confirms Team for San Jose: Spartan Stadium to Host Home Games.”
So the XFL made a mistake. Mistakes are allowed, right?
From our experience with XFL fans here on XFLBoard.com, there are a few cities which have rallied around their new XFL franchise: Birmingham, Memphis, Chicago and San Jose. San Jose fans have been a fixture on this site since the announcment on 10 July 2000. Since the new announcement last week we’ve barely heard a “peep” from anyone from San Francisco. What we are trying to say is this: San Francisco does not care about the Demons, but San Jose did. They definitely did.
In a news article printed in the Business Journal of San Jose on 11 Sep 2000, just two days before the San Jose move, Mike Preacher, the GM and President of the Demons franchise was quoted as saying that the Demons are installing video screens, cameras and sound equipment to bring the fans both at home and in San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium closer to the game. He also stated that the team’s office had received nearly 5,000 requests for season passes. We still wonder what he was doing, going on record like this only days before the franchise was pulled out of San Jose. Perhaps it was just a simple a matter of bad timing on the part of the media?
Does anybody else think that the majority of these season passes were sold to fans from San Jose?
The XFL’s spin on the move is that everybody will be better off with the team playing in Pac Bell Park. Fans should be happy about this. Also, playing in Pac Bell Park will give the XFL more of a big league image. This is obviously very important to the league bosses.
The only thing that Pac Bell Park has going for it is that it is a fantastic new facility and it is large. On the other hand, Spartan Stadium is a football stadium, built for fans of the greatest sport on earth. You know the type of stadium, two banks of seats parallel to the sidelines, and two end zone seating areas to enclose the playing field. Pac Bell Park is beautifully shaped like a ball diamond. Can it be made to be condusive to football? We’ll leave that to the XFL to figure out.
Accepting change is something that the XFL would like to have us do easily. After all it did not take long for the league to accept these new changes. On the league’s official web site at xfl.com, the name San Jose was replaced by San Francisco in all areas. Also, the name Spartan Stadium was just as easily replaced by Pacific Bell Park. Essentially the San Jose Demons never existed – wiped from the face of football with one click of a mouse.
In the XFL press release, Mike Preacher went on record to say “We always have considered ourselves a team for the entire Bay Area. San Jose is an important market for the Demons as it should be for all Bay Area teams. We will promote our product to the residents of the South Bay with no less fervor than we would have had we been playing at Spartan Stadium. The people and city of San Jose have been first-class all the way. We know they will continue to support the Demons.”
This is all nice sugar coating for the XFL fans of San Jose. But, make no mistake about it, the name of this team is now the San Francisco Demons. The words San Jose Demons, the name that many fans came to love, shall never be uttered again.
On the counterpoint, the XFL is all about progress. One of the major tenets of this league is to move into the new century with some new-style football fun. We should be trusting their plan to move into a baseball park. Like we have said before: “In Vince We Trust”. This remains true. Most fans of this league are dedicated to trusting the league’s founder simply based on his track record.
It’s just that to San Jose, the XFL is acting like a long lost cousin who came to visit for 67 days. They didn’t even say goodbye before they left.
Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor