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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stamford, Conn., June 12, 2019 – The XFL today announced that it will again partner with The Spring League, an elite professional football development league, to scout talent, test potential rule adjustments, and experiment with potential in-game technologies it as prepares for kick-off in February 2020.
The Spring League (TSL) will take the field with the XFL this summer to conduct two four-day scouting events in Southern California, the first of which will take place June 17-20 at Mission Viejo High School. The second will run July 28-31 at a location to be announced soon.
These events provide players with opportunities to display their ability in front of XFL head coaches and their staffs, and other professional football scouts. At the same time, TSL coaches will work closely with the XFL football operations team to test on-field and rules adjustments the league has developed and may adopt when it launches next year.
“We’re in an important phase of our development and The Spring League gives us the perfect platform to continue our effort to reimagine the game,” said Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner & CEO. “We had a great experience and learned so much at The Spring League in April, and feel confident that after these next two sessions we’ll have identified a few XFL-caliber players and be closer to finalizing our rules and gameplay.”
“We are excited to be working with the XFL again and further demonstrate our value as both a platform for player development and incubator for rules testing,” said Brian Woods, CEO of The Spring League. “Our summer events will provide additional opportunities for players to be scouted by XFL coaches and scouts in advance of their 2020 launch.”
ABOUT THE XFL The XFL will reimagine football for the 21st century when it kicks off the weekend of February 8-9, 2020, committed to delivering a brisk, fast-paced game, with a fan-centric, innovative, and affordable gameday experience. The inaugural season will launch with teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. Each team will compete with a 45-man active roster over a 10-week regular season with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game. Every XFL game – every week – will be nationally televised and easy-to-find for fans coast-to-coast. Starting in February 2020, the XFL will air weekly on ABC and FOX, with games also on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. Vince McMahon, XFL Founder and Chairman, is personally funding the new league, and building the XFL with the same commitment and resolve that he has demonstrated building WWE into a global media and sports entertainment powerhouse. For more information, visit XFL.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
ABOUT THE SPRING LEAGUE The Spring League is an elite development league and scouting event for professional football talent. All teams in The Spring League utilize one central location, for both practices and games, allowing NFL scouts, GM’s, and player personnel directors with an opportunity to evaluate players in one setting. Nearly all of the players who participate in The Spring League have spent time on an NFL active, practice, or pre-season roster. Since 2017, over 100 players have been either signed or invited to a camp by an NFL or CFL team. For more information, please visit: https://www.thespringleague.com/.
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Stamford, Conn., June 3, 2019 – The XFL announced today that Josh Bullock, former Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at the Tampa Bay Rays, has been named President of the XFL football team in Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay XFL team will take the field in February 2020 for its inaugural season and will play its home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Marc Trestman is the team’s head coach and general manager.
Bullock, who most recently served as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Director of Development at the University of South Florida, 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 thrilled that Josh has joined the XFL as our president in Tampa Bay,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “His experience with the Rays and USF, and his incredible network across the region, will help set us up for success on and off the field, on game day, and in the community every day.”
“I am excited to join the XFL and play a role in bringing more great football to Tampa Bay,” said Bullock. “The opportunity to help start a new football franchise was something I couldn’t pass up. I look forward to working alongside Coach Trestman and his staff to build-out our team, and to engage with our community, grow our fan base and create an experience that’s truly authentic to Tampa Bay and the region.”
Bullock joined USF Athletics in March 2018 as Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Development after more than seven years with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he served as Vice President, Corporate Partnerships. Before arriving in Tampa, Bullock served as general manager for ISP Sports (now IMG College) at UCF (2007-2010), and as associate general manager for ISP Sports at Virginia Tech (2004-2007).
In 2012, Bullock completed coursework at Leadership Tampa, an intensive nine-month program sponsored by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce that introduces attendees to major facets of the greater Tampa community, and he served as the Chair for the Class of 2018.
Bullock is a University of Kentucky graduate, where he served as Athletic Relations Coordinator for Football (1997-2000). He lives in Westchase, Fla. with his wife Christie, daughter, Anna, and son, James.
Stamford, Conn., June 3, 2019 – The XFL has established a health advisory committee comprised initially of experts in neurology, mental health, and orthopedics to support the health and wellness of XFL players.
The founding members of the XFL’s health advisory committee are Dr. Julian Bailes; Dr. Larry Lemak; and Dr. Claudia Reardon, representing the fields of neurosurgery, orthopedics and mental health, respectively. Dr. Bailes will serve as Chief Medical Advisor.
The league also appointed Daniel Wright, most recently the Head Athletic Trainer for the Milwaukee Brewers, as Vice President of Health and Safety. Wright, a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association for more than 30 years, will work with the health advisory committee to prepare and maintain the XFL’s health, wellness and safety policies, procedures and protocols. Wright will also hire, supervise, and evaluate the team athletic trainers.
“The health and safety of our players is an important focus on our path to reimagine football and deliver a great product to fans when we kick off in February 2020,” said XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck. “Putting in place the right experts and medical professionals is key. Our health advisory committee will work closely with our football operations department to create protocols and build best practice guidelines that put player health and safety at the forefront of everything we do.”
Dr. Bailes is considered a leading authority in neurosurgery, traumatic brain injury and research, and neurological sports medicine. He is Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem and Co-Director of the Northshore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Il. Dr. Bailes served as team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 10 years, and the NCAA Division I for 15 years. He is a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, NFLPA Mackey White Health and Safety Committee, and Chairman of the Pop Warner Football Medical Advisory Committee. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon, earned bachelor of science and doctor of medicine degrees from Louisiana State University, and received neurosurgery training at Northwestern University and the Barrow Neurological Institute.
Dr. Lemak is the Founder of Lemak Health, a center of excellence in orthopedics and primary care sports medicine. He serves on Pop Warner Football’s Medical Advisory Committee and the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Dr. Lemak founded the National Center for Sports Safety in 2001 and the Alabama Sports Foundation in 1996. He also served as Medical Director for Major League Soccer for 20 years, was a founder of the American Sports Medicine Institute, and was the Medical Director of NFL Europe League for more than 15 years. Dr. Lemak is a graduate of The University of Alabama Medical School and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the Arthroscopy Association of North America.
Dr. Reardon is a Board-certified psychiatrist specializing in sports psychiatry and an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Psychiatry. She clinically works as the consulting sports psychiatrist to the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department at UW-Madison’s University Health Services.
Dr. Reardon has served on the International Society for Sports Psychiatry Board of Directors since 2010, currently as its Secretary and Education Committee Chair. She also serves as the sole psychiatrist on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. Dr. Reardon chairs a workgroup on Mental Illness in Elite Athletes for the International Olympic Committee. She has published and presented widely on many sports psychiatry related topics, and is Co-Editor of the book “Clinical Sports Psychiatry: An International Perspective.” She completed her undergraduate and medical school degrees as well as her psychiatry residency training, serving as Chief Resident, at the University of Wisconsin.
Wright has been an athletic trainer since 1985. He recently spent 18 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, first as the Assistant Athletic Trainer and Conditioning Coordinator (2001-10), then as the Head Athletic Trainer (2011-18). In addition to the Brewers, Wright has held athletic training positions at either the minor or major league-level for the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants. From 1995 to 2008, he was Co-Owner and President of FitLife Health Systems, Inc., a business that provided athletic training, injury rehabilitation, and performance, fitness and conditioning services. Wright earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education (1984) and Master of Science in Clinical Health and Sports Medicine (1987) from the University of Oregon.
Stamford, Conn., May 14, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Brian Michael Cooper, previously Senior Associate Athletic Director at Rice University and President of the NBA G-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, has been named President of the XFL football team in Houston.
The Houston XFL team will take the field in February 2020 for its inaugural season and play its home games at TDECU Stadium.
Cooper, who most recently served as a partner in the Houston and Denver offices of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and as a member of the firm’s Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice, 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 all proud to announce Brian as President of our team in Houston,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “He is a seasoned sports business leader who knows and loves Houston and will help us connect authentically.”
“It’s an honor to help launch the XFL’s team in Houston,” said Cooper. “One measure of our success will be how well we engage the community. Another measure will be how effectively we tap into Houston’s passion for football. In both instances, I look forward to planting firm roots for the XFL by building a passionate, loyal fanbase for our Houston team.”
Cooper has more than 20 years of experience as a sports attorney, agent, executive and advisor, guiding clients through all aspects of sports business transactions, and is a four-time Super Lawyers Texas Rising Star. Before returning to his law practice in 2017 at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, he served as Director of Sports Programming for DISH Network. Cooper served as Senior Associate Athletic Director at Rice University from 2010-2013, and as President of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2008-2010. The Vipers are the NBA G-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets.
Before joining the Vipers, Cooper spent six years as an attorney at Haynes Boone LLP in Houston from 2002-2008, where he worked on matters for the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation. For his work in Houston sports, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Houston Bar Association’s Entertainment and Sports Law Section in 2009 and 2012, along with the HBA ESL Chairman’s Award in 2014. Cooper began his legal career at Proskauer LLP in New York, where his clients included the NBA, NHL, ATP, and MLS.
A graduate of Cornell University, the Harvard Kennedy School, and Columbia Law School, Cooper has served on the boards of Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston. An avid runner, he also has completed five New York City Marathons and two Houston Aramco Half Marathons.
Cooper lives in The Woodlands, Texas with his wife Jacqueline and their daughter Kendall.