Mark Your Calendars: XFL Reveals 2020 Schedule

Stamford, Conn., Oct. 22, 2019 – The XFL today announced its 2020 schedule, a 79-day sprint from kick-off to the championship game.

The 10-week regular season starts Saturday, February 8 at 2:00 PM ET, with the DC Defenders hosting the Seattle Dragons on ABC, followed by the Los Angeles Wildcats traveling to Houston for a game against the Roughnecks at 5:00 PM ET on FOX.

The XFL’s first weekend continues on Sunday, February 9, when the New York Guardians host the Tampa Bay Vipers at 2:00 PM ET on FOX and concludes later that day as the Dallas Renegades host the St. Louis BattleHawks at 5:00 PM ET on ESPN.

Additional regular-season highlights include home openers for Seattle on February 15, Los Angeles on February 16, Tampa Bay on February 22, and St. Louis on February 23. The country’s two biggest markets — New York and Los Angeles — meet only one time on February 29, when the Wildcats take on the Guardians at MetLife Stadium. The first of two Texas intrastate match-ups between the Roughnecks and Renegades follows on March 1 in Dallas.

XFL tickets will be available for general public purchase via Ticketmaster on October 24 at 10:00 AM local time in each XFL city. Fans can visit XFL.com/tickets to learn more about tickets for all XFL teams, see prices and benefits, and sign up for special information and content.

The eight-team league is divided into two four-team divisions, East and West. The XFL East features the DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, and Tampa Bay Vipers. The Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, and Seattle Dragons comprise the XFL West.

Each XFL team will host five home games and will play a schedule that features a home-and-home series against division rivals and one game against each team in the other division.

Every XFL game will air live on national television, including 25 games broadcast on ABC and FOX. In the regular season, four games are scheduled each week, typically with two back-to-back games on both Saturdays and Sundays. The XFL schedule also features two primetime Thursday night games in the final weeks of the regular season.

Following the regular season, the top two teams in each division will square off for the right to play for the league championship on Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 PM ET on ESPN. The East Final is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 (FOX, 3:00 PM ET), and the West Final will be held Sunday, April 19 (ESPN, 3:00 PM ET). The first-place team in each division will host its respective division final.

XFL Announces Initial Quarterback Assignments

Initial quarterback assignments for each of the XFL’s eight teams were announced Tuesday morning:

● DALLAS RENEGADES: Landry Jones 

● DC DEFENDERS: Cardale Jones 

● HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS: Philip Walker 

● LOS ANGELES WILDCATS: Luis Perez 

● NEW YORK GUARDIANS: Matt McGloin 

● ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS: Jordan Ta’amu 

● SEATTLE DRAGONS: Brandon Silvers 

● TAMPA BAY VIPERS: Aaron Murray 

“Our head coaches are excited about this first wave of quarterback assignments and the talent level in our draft pool,” said Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner and CEO. “We will continue to identify and sign the best players available, and we are confident this is a strong start to the next two days.”

PLAYER BIOS

Landry Jones, Dallas Renegades
Jones spent six seasons in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers and stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Artesia, NM native attended the University of Oklahoma (2009-12), where he set Big 12 Conference records in passing yards (16,646), completions (1,388) and touchdown passes (123). As a senior, Jones earned All-Big 12 second-team honors. In 2010, he won the Sammy Baugh Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate passer.

Cardale Jones, DC Defenders
In 2014, after winning the Big Ten Championship Game MVP award, Jones led Ohio State to a national championship, despite starting that season as the third-string quarterback. The Cleveland native tallied 2,313 career passing yards with 19 total touchdowns in 23 games (11 starts). Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2016, Jones spent three years with Los Angeles Chargers’ practice squad. In 2019, he was signed to the Seahawks practice squad.

Phillip Walker, Houston Roughnecks
A four-year letter winner at Temple University (2013-2016), Walker is the Owls’ all-time leader in pass attempts (1,410), completions (803), passing yards (10,273), TD passes (72), and total offense (11,100). In 2015 and 2016, the New Jersey native led TU to two of their three 10-win seasons and their first ever back-to-back bowl appearances in school history, along with their first conference title in 49 years (2016). Walker spent three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2017-19 practice squad).

Luis Perez, LA Wildcats
In 28 career games (25-3) at Texas A&M – Commerce, Perez finished as the all-time leader in completions (665), passing yards (8,325) and passing TDs (78). In 2017, the Chula Vista, CA native led the Lions to the NCAA Division II Championship, while winning the Harlon Hill Division II Player of the Year award. That year, Perez set the single-season program records for pass attempts (596), pass completions (421), pass yards (4,999), passing touchdowns (46) and completion percentage (70.6). His professional career includes time with the Los Angeles Rams (2018 practice squad) San Antonio Commanders and Birmingham Iron of the AAF (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019 practice squad) and Detroit Lions (2019 practice squad).

Matt McGloin, New York Guardians
After an All-State high school career at West Scranton HS, in 2012 McGloin became the first walk-on QB to start at Penn State since 1949. He broke numerous records during his senior season including career touchdown passes (46), single-season passing yards (3,276) and single-season completions (270). He also earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors and won the Burlsworth Trophy. His NFL experience includes stints with the Oakland Raiders (2013-2016), Philadelphia Eagles (2017 practice squad), Houston Texans (2017) and Kansas City Chiefs (2018 practice squad).

Jordan Ta’amu, St. Louis BattleHawks
Jordan Ta’amu played two seasons at the University of Mississippi (2017-2018). As a junior in 2017, he played in eight games (started final 5 games) and tallied 1,682 passing yards with 11 touchdowns. In his senior campaign, the Hawaii native broke the Ole Miss single-season record for 400-yard passing games (4) and led the SEC in both passing yards per game and total offense. He finished 6th all-time in school history with 5,600 career passing yards and 9th in passing touchdowns. A former 2019 NFL Combine invitee, Ta’amu was signed and released by the Houston Texans in August 2019.

Brandon Silvers, Seattle Dragons
During his four years as a starter at Troy University, Silvers passed for 10,677 yards (second in school history) with a 64.4% completion rating and compiled 71 touchdowns with a passer rating of 135.8. As an All-Conference QB during his senior year, he led the Trojans to their best record in school history (11-2, 7-1 Sun Belt). After spending time with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, he started three games for the AAF’s Memphis Express last year (777 yards, 4 TDs) and signed with the New York Jets prior to training camp in 2019.

Aaron Murray, Tampa Bay Vipers
A high school All-American from Tampa, FL, Murray is the SEC’s all-time leader in completions (921), passing yards (13,166) and passing touchdowns (121). A four-year starter at the Univ. of Georgia, Murray also holds the top two passing touchdown records (36 in 2012, 35 in 2011) in school history, and won the MVP of the Florida Citrus/Capital One Bowl in 2013. Murray spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (2014-2016), Arizona Cardinals (2016 practice squad), Philadelphia Eagles (2016 practice squad) and Los Angeles Rams (2017 practice squad). In 2019, Murray signed with the Atlanta Legends (AAF).

XFL wires up David Michael as Chief Technology Officer

David Michael, Chief Technology Officer, XFL

Stamford, Conn., Oct. 7, 2019 – The XFL today announced that David Michael has been named the league’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Most recently he was Chief Information Officer (CIO) for The Madison Square Garden Company and, before that, CIO for GroupM North America.

Michael will be responsible for developing and overseeing all enterprise, digital product and football technology strategies and initiatives for the league and its eight teams.

“The role of Chief Technology Officer at the XFL is mission-critical and David is a proven leader and innovator,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO. “We’re moving quickly to our kick-off in February 2020 and his arrival is perfectly timed.”

“I’m excited to join the XFL and looking forward to bringing new digital technology innovations to the game and fan experience,” added Michael, who will report to Pollack. “Vince McMahon, Jeffrey Pollack and Oliver Luck are building a world-class organization and it’s a privilege to be part of the team.”

As The Madison Square Garden Company’s CIO, Michael spearheaded a major customer-facing digital transformation program, in addition to overseeing enterprise-wide technology infrastructure, support and business applications. Prior to MSG, Michael successfully delivered major technology initiatives as CIO at GroupM North America, UBM Tech and PR Newswire.

Michael earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in computer science from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Press Release: XFL GETS SOCIAL WITH PLAYER DRAFT

Stamford, Conn., October 7, 2019 – The XFL player draft will take place Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16. Player selections will be announced on XFL.com, @xfl2020 on Twitter, @xfl on Instagram, and through the social media channels of the eight XFL teams.

Over the two-day draft, each XFL team will populate a 71-man roster by selecting players from a set of positional groupings. One quarterback will be assigned to each team prior to a five-phased draft, phased as follows:

  1. Skill Players (QB, RB, WR, TE)
  2. Offensive Line (OT, OG, OC)
  3. Defensive Front Seven (DL, LB)
  4. Defensive Backfield (CB, NB, SS, FS)
  5. Open Draft (all remaining players after positional drafts, in addition to P/K/LS)

The draft pool will include approximately 1,000 professional football players, all of whom accepted a Commissioner’s Invitation and passed a standard background check. In Phases 1-4, each team will choose ten players for a total of 40 players. In Phase 5, each team will choose from the pool of remaining players to complete its initial roster.

Using a “snake” format, the selection order within each phase reverses after every round: the team selecting first in the first round will pick eighth in the second round, first in the third round, eighth in the fourth round and so on. The order of selection was determined by lottery under the supervision of Commissioner Oliver Luck.

The grid below summarizes the pick order for each of the five draft phases:

Pick Order Skill Phase OL Phase D7 Phase DB Phase Open Phase
1 DC LA TB DAL STL
2 HOU SEA STL NY NY
3 NY STL SEA HOU SEA
4 DAL TB LA DC LA
5 TB DAL DC LA TB
6 STL NYC HOU SEA HOU
7 SEA HOU NY STL DC
8 LA DC DAL TB DAL

The coaches and scouts for each XFL team will gather in their local markets to draft their initial rosters. Teams will be given 90 seconds to make a selection and declare their picks through a video conference with the XFL home office in Stamford, Connecticut.

Today, the XFL will begin to reveal, through XFL.com and the league’s social channels, the players entering the draft, with additional groups to be announced regularly leading up to the draft. The entire draft pool will be revealed by October 11.

XFL team Twitter and Instagram handles are the same for both platforms and as follows:

Dallas Renegades @xflrenegades

DC Defenders @xfldefenders

Houston Roughnecks @xflroughnecks

Los Angeles @xflwildcats

New York Guardians @xflguardians

Seattle Dragons @xfldragons

St. Louis BattleHawks @xflbattlehawks

Tampa Bay Vipers @xflvipers

XFL names Mali Friedman Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs

Mali Friedman
Mali Friedman

Stamford, Conn., Sept. 9, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Mali Friedman has been named the league’s Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs.  Most recently she was Assistant General Counsel of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and, before that, Senior Counsel at the National Hockey League.

“Mali is a star and we’re thrilled she’s on our team,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “Her judgment, savvy and experience inside two world-class sports organizations make her the perfect leader for our legal department.”

“This is an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to Vince McMahon and Jeffrey Pollack,” said Friedman, who will report to Pollack. “Like most people throughout the sports industry, I’ve been watching the XFL’s development and have been impressed by the vision and early execution. Our February launch is coming fast and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves, getting to work, and helping build the league and its teams.”

As Warriors Assistant General Counsel since 2017, Friedman managed a wide range of legal matters and business affairs — helping the organization transform from a basketball team to a diversified sports and entertainment company; negotiating multi-million-dollar corporate sponsorship agreements; supervising the leasing process for retail spaces at the new Chase Center; and providing day-to-day counsel to the team’s marketing, digital, technology, and game operations business units, and the Warriors Community Foundation

Friedman was Senior Counsel at the NHL from 2014 to 2017, where she focused on media partnerships, international business, and technology initiatives.

Friedman was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP. She earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2006, and an A.B. from Princeton University in 2002, graduating summa cum laude with a concentration in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and played on the tennis team.  Friedman serves on the U.S. Board of Directors for Right to Play, an international organization dedicated to protecting, educating, and empowering children to rise above adversity using the power of sport and play.

Commissioner’s Invitations Start XFL Player Recruitment Process

Stamford, Conn., August 7, 2019 – XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck this week will start to invite an exclusive list of top free-agent players to be part of the league’s first draft pool.

“Extending invitations to our draft process marks the next step on an extraordinary football journey,” said Luck. “Many of the outstanding athletes who receive a Commissioner’s Invitation will be among the first to take the field in our new league, proudly representing their fans and their communities. I am delighted to offer them this exciting opportunity.”

The XFL will conduct its first player draft in October and include current and former professional football players. Each of the league’s eight teams will draft 70 players.

Players who accept a Commissioner’s Invitation must complete and sign a HIPAA release form and consent to and clear a background check. Only those players meeting these two basic requirements will be considered fully draft-eligible. If drafted, a player must then successfully pass a medical examination and drug test, and subsequently execute an XFL standard player contract.

XFL Names Dallas Native Grady Raskin President of City’s New Team

Grady Raskin, most recently Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the NHL Dallas Stars, has been named President of the XFL team in his native Dallas.

Stamford, Conn., June 27, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Grady Raskin, most recently Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the NHL Dallas Stars, has been named President of the XFL team in his native Dallas.

The Dallas XFL team will take the field in February 2020 for its inaugural season and play its home games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Bob Stoops is the team’s head coach and general manager.

Raskin will be responsible for the team’s fan engagement and business operations, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, content, communications, community relations, and game day experience.

“Vince McMahon, Oliver Luck and I are thrilled to welcome Grady to the XFL as our eighth and final team president this year,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “As a Dallas native who has called the Metroplex home his entire life, Grady understands the heart and soul of local sports fans and he’s deeply connected in the business community. We know that, working alongside Coach Stoops, he will help us connect with the community and build something special.”

“The XFL has attracted an impressive group of coaches and sports executives to its ranks, and I’d like to thank Vince McMahon and Jeffrey Pollack for the opportunity to lead the team in my hometown and work with the legendary Bob Stoops,” said Raskin. “Knowing how passionate football fans in North Texas are, it’s humbling and extremely energizing to take on this new challenge. We are eager to begin the process of building a first-class organization devoted to creating fan-first experiences and strong partnerships throughout the community.”

Raskin began his 22-year sports career as an intern for MLB’s Texas Rangers in 1996 and soon worked his way up to Director of Advertising Sales, selling corporate partnerships for three sports entities owned by Tom Hicks (Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Mesquite Rodeo), as well as the newly-constructed American Airlines Center. He was elevated to Vice President of Business Development for the Rangers and Stars in 2007, then, upon the sale of the teams in 2009, moved to the Rangers exclusively. Raskin rejoined the Stars in 2012, serving as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, managing all partnership sales and activations. Over his career, he has experienced two Western Conference Championships and a Stanley Cup Championship with the Stars, and two American League Pennants with the Rangers.

A cum laude graduate of George Washington University with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in sports management, Raskin was a three-year letterman on the university’s Division I baseball team. He lives in Dallas with his wife Ally and their two children.

St. Louis Native Kurt Hunzeker Named President of City’s XFL Team

Stamford, Conn., June 25, 2019 – The XFL today announced that St. Louis native Kurt Hunzeker, most recently the Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Research for Minor League Baseball (MiLB), has been named President of the XFL football team in St. Louis.

The St. Louis XFL team will take the field in February 2020 for its inaugural season and play its home games at The Dome at America’s Center. Jonathan Hayes is the team’s head coach and general manager.

Hunzeker, a University of Missouri graduate, will be responsible for the team’s fan engagement and business operations, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, content, communications, community relations, and the game day experience.

“Vince McMahon, Oliver Luck and I are fortunate to have an executive as accomplished as Kurt join the XFL family as President of our St. Louis team,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “He is a dynamic sports business professional who will put his two decades of strategic leadership, creativity and operational experience to work as we reimagine the game and return professional football to St. Louis.”

“I’m thankful for this incredible opportunity to be part of the team that is bringing football back to town,” said Hunzeker. “The XFL team in St. Louis will be the first modern professional football team born in and exclusively for this great city. Each neighborhood is proud to be a unique subset of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, and I’ve been blessed to live in quite a few. I pledge to work with Coach Hayes to make this team an integral part of this terrific, sports-loving community and look forward to bringing reimagined football and fan-centric fun to the Dome in 2020.”

In his position with MiLB, which he held since 2015, Hunzeker identified potential commercial partners and developed brand-building campaigns, fan engagement strategies and innovative strategic marketing plans for the organization and on behalf of 160 teams. During his tenure, he developed MiLB’s 10-year strategic marketing plan, including its first-ever national campaign, “It’s Fun to Be a Fan®”, and the Spanish-language version, “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan™”. He also managed the creation of Copa de la Diversión™ (the “Fun Cup”), a season-long event series celebrating the unique heritage and contributions of each team’s respective Hispanic communities that will include more than half of MiLB’s franchises by 2020.

Hunzeker joined MiLB after spending five years with St. Louis-based Rawlings Sporting Goods as Senior Director of Brand Marketing, where he directed the company’s global brand marketing and media buying efforts. He also spearheaded the integration of sabermetrics into the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, its expansion into other professional leagues, and the creation of the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award national fan vote initiative.

Hunzeker was an adjunct professor at Maryville University’s John E. Simon School of Business in St. Louis (2014), and served as a member of the St. Louis University Sports Business Advisory Board (2011-2014).

He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May 1999 with a Bachelor of Journalism. He currently resides in Tampa, but he and his family will soon return home to the St. Louis area.

XFL Houston hires Jennifer Germer as Marketing Director

Jennifer Germer, the former Vice President of Marketing for the Houston Astros, is now the new marketing director for XFL Houston.

Brian Michael Cooper, XFL Houston team president, today announced his first team business hire in former Houston Astros executive Jennifer Germer who has joined his team as the team’s marketing director. In her new position, Germer will lead XFL Houston’s marketing and community relations including integrated marketing functions, brand marketing, digital and social marketing, fan engagement and activations locally.

Most recently, Germer served as the Chief Operating Officer for RMH Marketing & Media, where she was responsible for streamlining the business and marketing operations strategy and building the operational framework, processes, and technology.

Germer served as the Astros’ Vice President of Marketing from 2008-2011 and Senior Director of Marketing from 2006-2008. Prior to joining the Astros, Germer spent seven seasons working in the marketing departments for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2000-06) and Anaheim Ducks (2000-02).  She also served as the sports marketing and event manager for Elite Racing, Inc.

Germer graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science with an emphasis in sport studies, health, and wellness.

XFL Names Fred Harner to Lead Content and Media Initiatives

The XFL today announced that Fred Harner, most recently Vice President and General Manager of Digital Media at SportsNet New York, has been named Senior Vice President of Content and Media.

Stamford, Conn., June 17, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Fred Harner, most recently Vice President and General Manager of Digital Media at SportsNet New York, has been named Senior Vice President of Content and Media.

In his new position, Harner will lead the XFL’s content strategy and all digital and social media initiatives for the league and its eight teams. He will also work closely with the XFL’s broadcast partners – ESPN and FOX Sports – to help drive tune-in and fan engagement, and manage the development of new programming initiatives.

“Vince McMahon and I are delighted to have a recognized and seasoned media executive like Fred join the XFL and help us offer fans fresh and compelling football content,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “Fred’s career has been marked by two decades of innovation and transformation, and he will help us connect with our fans through new points of access to the game they love.”

“I’m so grateful to Vince McMahon and Jeffrey Pollack for this truly unique opportunity,” said Harner. “Launching and leading digital operations at YES and SNY was both challenging and exhilarating. I see many similarities with the new XFL, and look forward to reimagining the digital aspects of fan engagement as we drive to our February launch.”

As head of SNY’s digital operation from 2007 to 2019, Harner oversaw business development, sales, sponsorship, live streaming, multi-platform content creation, social media, VOD, partner relations, analytics, and digital products. He drove SNY.tv traffic and revenue to all-time highs, and introduced live-streaming of New York Mets games and University of Connecticut basketball games. Harner also led business initiatives with partners such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, NBCU sports properties, MLB Advanced Media, Adobe, Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, and The Score.

Before joining SNY, Harner spent six years as the digital media director at the YES Network, helping to launch the most-watched regional sports network in the U.S. and quickly establishing the network’s web site as a prime resource for Yankees fans around the globe. He also spent five years as a senior editor for ABC Sports Online and ESPN.com, managing ABC Sports’ Monday Night Football, Bowl Championship Series, Triple Crown, and Indy 500 digital coverage.

Harner has won multiple N.Y. Sports Emmy and Telly Awards, and was selected to participate in Comcast/NBCU’s exclusive INVEST executive leadership development program. A regular on the speaker circuit, he has appeared on several panels, including the SXSW Technology Conference and BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

Harner earned a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maine in 1993 and a Master’s in Athletic Administration from Ohio University in 1995.