St. Louis BattleHawks

XFL (2020) team based in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis BattleHawks
Team logo
Established2018; 4 years ago (2018)
Based inSt. Louis, Missouri
Home stadiumThe Dome at America's Center
Head coachAnthony Becht
General managerAnthony Becht
Owner(s)Alpha Acquico, LLC[1]
LeagueXFL
DivisionEast[2]
ColorsRoyal, white, grey, navy[3]
       
Websitexfl.com/teams/st-louis
Current sports event2023 St. Louis BattleHawks season

The St. Louis BattleHawks are a professional American football team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The team was founded by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and is an owned-and-operated member of the new XFL owned by Dwayne Johnson’s Alpha Acquico. The BattleHawks play their home games at The Dome at America's Center.

History

In 2020, Saint Louis began play as a charter member of the XFL. The St. Louis BattleHawks joined the Seattle Dragons, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians, DC Defenders, Tampa Bay Vipers, and Dallas Renegades as the XFL's inaugural franchises in the eight–team league. All teams had 40-man active rosters and were scheduled to play a 10–week season in 2020. Vince McMahon said "the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of the game that should complete in under three hours", drawing from former college and NFL players.[4]

On April 18, 2019, the team hired Jonathan Hayes, who most recently was tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, as their first head coach. Hayes is an alumnus of the University of Iowa.[5]

The BattleHawks lead the league in followers on Twitter, Instagram, and in fan attendance.[6][7] The St. Louis media market led the nation in television viewership for the opening week, posting a 7.4 Nielsen rating for the BattleHawks' first game.[8] Fans often chanted “Kroenke Sucks” to express distaste for the former owner of the St. Louis Rams, who controversially relocated the team to Los Angeles, California following the 2015-16 season.

On April 10, 2020, the remainder of the XFL season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The St. Louis BattleHawks had a 3–2 record when the league ceased play.[9]

On January 3, 2022, Dwayne Johnson, the new owner of the XFL, announced plans were in place to return to play in 2023. The announcement specified training camps would begin on January 4, 2023, with regular season play beginning on February 18, 2023.[10] On July 25 2022, The league confirmed that St. Louis would return for the 2023 XFL season, with former Rams Tight end Anthony Becht serving as the teams Head Coach. A September 23 leak from the XFL's online shop, which preceded an official announcement scheduled the following week, confirmed the team would remain known as the BattleHawks.[11]

Market overview

The BattleHawks are the only XFL team that was founded in a market that lacked a current National Football League franchise. St. Louis hosted NFL football in 1923 with the All-Stars, 1934 with the Gunners, 1960 to 1987 with the Football Cardinals, and again from 1995 to 2015 with the Rams, which moved to Los Angeles in the 2016 season. There is a significant negative sentiment against the NFL in St. Louis,[12] as the owners of both the Cardinals and Rams moved to new markets, saying that the city and county governments of St. Louis declined to provide an adequate new stadium; the latter also said the Dome at America's Center was unacceptable. (The Dome was the last NFL stadium to be built with a fully opaque and fixed roof, which led to a lack of ambient light and, coupled with the Rams' decision to switch to a darker uniform color palette in the early 2000s, resulted in one of the darkest stadium environments in the NFL.) As St. Louis was one of the most recent cities to lose an NFL team, with acceptable facilities by XFL standards, the area was seen as a good choice.

St. Louis has hosted one alternative professional football team: the Arena Football League's St. Louis Stampede of 1995 and 1996. None of the major alternative outdoor leagues of the late 20th and early 21st centuries had a team there. Some indoor football teams have played at Family Arena in suburban St. Charles, Missouri, including the RiverCity Rage and River City Raiders. Until Lindenwood University (located in St. Charles) joined the Ohio Valley Conference in 2022, St. Louis had also been devoid of NCAA Division I football at both the FBS and FCS levels since 1949, when the Saint Louis University Billikens dropped football as an intercollegiate sport; the nearest FBS football squad, the Missouri Tigers, play in Columbia.

The St. Louis BattleHawks share the Missouri winter sports market with one other major professional team, the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues, and with the Billikens' and Tigers' college basketball teams.

The Dome at America's Center was built for the Rams and as an addition to the adjoining St. Louis Convention Center. After the Rams left, the Dome continued to host a plethora of other events, enough that the stadium was unable to host a team in the former Alliance of American Football for the 2019 season.[13] The XFL rented the Dome for $800,000 per season (a $300,000 flat fee plus $100,000 for each game) in exchange for keeping all of the revenue from ticket sales; the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission will keep concession and parking revenue.[14] As part of the agreement to return in 2023, the XFL signed a three-year lease on the Dome with similar terms to its 2020 lease.[15] For XFL games, the Dome has a reduced capacity, similar to the former San Antonio Commanders use of the Alamodome and the earlier XFL's Orlando Rage at the Citrus Bowl, reducing the stadium's capacity to around 28,000.[16] After two consecutive sellouts of the lower bowl, city officials began planning to open up some sections of the upper decks to accommodate more fans while still maintaining the up-close intimate atmosphere the league seeks.[17]

Staff

  • v
  • t
  • e
Front office
  • Director of team operations – Anastasia Ali
  • Director of player personnel – Dave Boller
Head coach
Offensive coaches


 
Defensive coaches
Team operations
  • Athletic Trainer – Eric Avila
  • Equipment Manager – Todd Hewitt
  • Video Manager – Sean Hollister


East Division
DC
SA
STL
ORL
West Division
ALR
HOU
LV
SEA

2020 Season

The BattleHawks finished the 2020 XFL season tied for 1st place in the East finishing with a record of 3-2. Their inaugural season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the XFL officially suspended operations for the remainder of the season on March 20, 2020.

References

  1. ^ Perry, Mark (August 3, 2020). "More Details On The Rock Purchase Of The XFL, How Many Bidders". XFL News Hub. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "FOX Sports announces 2020 XFL schedule". KMPH. January 7, 2020. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  3. ^ "St. Louis BattleHawks' uniforms, helmet". XFL.com (Press release). December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  4. ^ KOMO Staff (5 December 2018). "Seattle chosen as one of 8 inaugural teams for new XFL football league". KOMO.
  5. ^ Smith, Michael David (2019-04-18). "XFL hires Jonathan Hayes as St. Louis head coach". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  6. ^ Fulk, Konnor. "XFL Momentum: Social Media, A Look At The Numbers". XFLNewsHub. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  7. ^ Barrabi, Thomas. "XFL attendance on the rise through 3 weeks". FOX Business. FOXBusiness.
  8. ^ Caesar, Dan. "St. Louis draws XFL's best TV rating in the nation". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  9. ^ "Sources: XFL staff laid off, no plans for 2021". ESPN.com. April 10, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Rock Says: XFL training camp is less than a year away". January 5, 2022.
  11. ^ XFL Teams Names Leaked Online, Some Old, Some New, Some Surprising Changes. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  12. ^ "If Corrupt NFL Wants the Chargers In STL, Here Are Our Terms: Pay Up, For Everything". 101Sports.com. 2018-10-23. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  13. ^ June 21; 2018. "St. Louis Left Out As AAF City With Dome Unavailable For Games". www.sportsbusinessdaily.com. Retrieved 2019-02-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "FOX2 obtains agreement between XFL, St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission". FOX2now.com. 2018-12-10. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  15. ^ Rubbelke, Nathan (August 1, 2022). "As XFL returns to St. Louis, its rent for The Dome won't change". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  16. ^ St. Louis BattleHawks [@XFLBattleHawks] (2019-10-08). "Season ticket information is out 👀 Start making your plans now #ClearedToEngage #STLBornAndRaised More details here: t.co/OzTegnZpc0 t.co/Fr4SF964Jm" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2021-01-19 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "St. Louis Battlehawks looking to add seats". www.audacy.com. March 1, 2020.

External links

  • Official website
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