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Muscle Sport Magazine

CitiField or Yankee Stadium For XFL NY Franchise? Marketing Masterpiece

The XFL ‘planted’ a seed this past week by temporarily posting a list of telephone numbers for what appears to be the eight cities that will become the homes of the new franchises. The official announcement for that and the facilities the teams will be playing in is scheduled for December 5, but this posting and subsequent quick deletion has resulted in a nice little buzz across the social media landscape.

One of the eight numbers listed is for “New York / 917-781-2300,” which is a mobile number and not an area code for a specific location, per se, in the Empire State. It was originally created in the early 1990s for pagers in New York City when there were no additional 212 area code numbers available and has since been used for cell phones. So it remains a mystery as to where this team may be housed. 

A search online showed that the number is in fact for a cell phone with the provider being USA Mobility Wireless and registered in New York state and New York county (Manhattan).

A Twitter post by Bryant Solorzano from the “This is the XFL” podcast stated that “based on the phone numbers posted briefly on xfl.com, here is what is announced,” with MetLife Stadium listed for the New York franchise.

Yep, MetLife Stadium, which is really the new Giants Stadium for all intents and purposes. More on that later.

We reached out to Solorzano for further comment on to why he has come to that conclusion and will update as necessary. Our hypothesis is that MetLife Stadium is the only ‘real’ pro football facility in the New York-New Jersey area and the original XFL’s New York/New Jersey Hitmen played there in the league’s lone season. But we are hoping that will not be the case and there are a number of reasons why.

MARKETING

Because both the Giants and Jets play in the Garden State, New York is a perfect place for a team, not New Jersey. Sure, Giants fans have been fine with having their own stadium in the weeds since 1976 and were content on building the new one on their own until Jets owner Woody Johnson came knocking and offered to pay for half of the project. Johnson was rebuffed by the now-incarcerated Sheldon Silver to build a stadium on the west side of Manhattan and was so disappointed, he wouldn’t even entertain a perfect location being offered in Queens right next to the then-under construction Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.

The Jets did not have a great relationship with the Mets when they both played at Shea Stadium, but that is ancient history now. The late Leon Hess moved the Jets to Jersey following the 1983 season and with that, alienated his fan base. It only worsened decades later when the Jets totally abandoned their longtime training facility, Hofstra University on Long Island (about a 30-minute commute from Shea Stadium), for the Atlantic Health facility in New Jersey.

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The only thing New York about both teams is in name only. Oddly enough, the only ‘real’ New York team is the Buffalo Bills, and they are closer to Canada than the Empire State Building.

The main fan base of the Jets is still from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. Tickets will sell and there won’t be a need to tarp off the upper bowl like was done for Hitmen home games. A smaller, but still legitimate pro stadium would be perfect for the XFL teams, especially the New York one.

With so many fans turned off by the NFL (kneeling protests, felony arrests, etc.), it would be a genius marketing move to have a team playing in New York City that has no threat of taking a knee during the National Anthem or signing a player who has a criminal record. (Vince McMahon has made both perfectly clear as to how his league will differ from the NFL in those two aspects.)

“A real New York pro football team has arrived!”

There’s your first marketing campaign, guys. For free and on us. We’ll gladly trade that to not have a three-hour post-game commute, since we have full intention of covering the XFL.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: When I had full season press credentials for the New York Jets, it was not uncommon for me to spend that much time driving to my Long Island home after covering a Jets game at MetLife Stadium. And it wasn’t much better when I resided in Brooklyn prior to that.)

LOCATION

There are two options for stadiums to play in – CitiField and Yankee Stadium. Both seat more than a number of expected stadiums around the league, which are ones used by MLS teams. One – the Stub Hub Center in California – is currently being used by the Los Angeles Chargers. So if an NFL team sees it fit for one of their teams to use a MLS stadium (albeit on a temporary basis, in this case), then an XFL team would be fine there and in MLB stadiums. Even the most optimistic XFL people have to admit that 70,000-plus seats is overkill.

Yankee Stadium has hosted college football since 2010 and the Pinstripe Bowl has become an annual success in the Bronx. So that is an easy transformation. CitiField has not hosted an American football game, but has held soccer matches there. Both stadiums have held NHL games, as well. So it is conceivable that an XFL can use either or perhaps both, splitting home games between the two.

As far as local MLS venues go, the Red Bulls play in New Jersey and the NYFC plays at Yankee Stadium with a proposed stadium being discussed.

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With only a 10-game regular season schedule, it is not impossible to fit in five home dates that would not interfere with any of the other events going on thereat. The XFL season does finish up when the MLB season commences, but the schedule for the New York team can finish up on the road. If the team qualifies for the post-season and the host of a game, that’s a bridge that needs to be crossed when arrived at.

Football fans in New York would certainly go to either ballpark and it would conjure up memories of the Giants playing at old Yankee Stadium and the Jets at Shea. Nostalgia coupled with two hours less traffic and no tolls. A no-brainer, as far as we’re concerned.

RELATED: FUCK THE NFL

IDENTITY CRISIS

The XFL wants to be different from the NFL and although these proposed cities are all ones with NFL teams (except for St. Louis, which has had two separate franchises move), it would behoove them to set some type of standard early on that shows they are here to stay this time around. Succeeding in New York may go a long way in doing that and playing at MetLife Stadium does not give them the best chance.

If they call either CitiField or Yankee Stadium home, it will make an immediate impact in the media capital of the world. East Rutherford, New Jersey and the home of both NFL teams will not give any impression of a league and team’s own identity, but rather the same old story as before.

 

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