orlando xfl
ICON Park attractions, The Wheel, left, Orlando SlingShot, middle, and Orlando FreeFall, right, are shown in Orlando, Fla., on March 24, 2022. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP, file)

Orlando Gets an XFL Team

The XFL is being relaunched in 2023 and Orlando will be one of three new cities hosting a team. On Sunday, the XFL announced the cities that will have a franchise for this upcoming season. Orlando, Las Vegas and San Antonio are taking the places of New York, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. Although these three cities are big markets, the XFL’s new ownership decided to disperse of the teams.

XFL History

The XFL began in 2000 when longtime WWE chairman, Vince McMahon, launched the league in efforts to bring more excitement to football. It only lasted its inaugural season, however, as the television ratings were not what McMahon, and co-owners, NBC, were looking for.

The league was revived 17 years later as McMahon announced that the XFL was making a comeback. 2020 was the first season of games, but with the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, the league had to stop operations. This caused the XFL to file for bankruptcy a couple months later as McMahon stated that the pandemic had costed the league tens of millions of dollars.

After this debacle, McMahon announced he was going to sell the league in 2020. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, along with Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, purchased the XFL from McMahon for a fee of $15 million. With this new ownership came new rule changes, cities and teams.

Orlando

Orlando is one of three new cities the XFL announced on Sunday. Along with this announcement, they also stated the head coaches and stadiums for each franchise. Orlando’s head coach for the 2023 season will be Terrell Buckley.

Buckley is a former collegiate and NFL cornerback, and also played professional baseball. He played his college football at Florida State University before being the fifth overall pick in the 1992 NFL draft. Buckley played 14 seasons professionally before becoming a coach in 2007. He coached for five different schools as a cornerbacks coach at all five. This will be Buckley’s first gig as a head coach at any level.

This new Orlando XFL team will play their home games at Camping World Stadium in Downtown Orlando. This stadium has hosted many sporting events in the past, most notably bowl games like the Citrus Bowl and Camping World Bowl. This will be the stadium’s first professional team to call it their home, as there are no professional sports teams located out of Camping World Stadium as of yet.

While the XFL announced its host cities, stadiums and coaches, they did not announce team names. There are five cities returning from the shortened 2020 season and many assume these teams will keep their names. However, with Orlando, Las Vegas and San Antonio coming in as new franchises, they will need to come up with names for themselves.

Countdown to Kickoff

The 2023 XFL season is still a few months away but the hype is definitely building. The regular season is set to begin on February 18th, 2023 with the first games under new ownership. Many are excited for this company that has struggled in the past, but are hopeful Orlando will bring in new fans and enthusiasm for the sport of football.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a second year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

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