ST. LOUIS – St. Louis is under serious consideration for a new pro football team. Executives from leagues to rival the NFL are in discussions with the Convention and Visitor's Commission (CVC), which operates under the banner “Explore St. Louis.”
The new XFL may have the best shot.
The CVC has received and is currently reviewing a request for proposals from the XFL to return pro football to the Dome at America's Center for the first time since the NFL’s Rams moved after the 2015 season.
The new XFL has apparently learned lessons from its last go around: a single season in 2001.
It was tied to professional wrestling mogul, Vince McMahon, chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment. McMahon’s new XFL is already targeting fans who may be turned off by the NFL’s troubles: owners moving from supportive cities like St. Louis, players with criminal records of assaulting women, or player protests during the national anthem.
No one with a criminal record – even a DUI – will be allowed to play in the new XFL and players will honor the anthem, McMahon has said previously.
The league has just named a commissioner with an impressive pedigree – Oliver Luck.
Luck is a former NFL player, executive, MLS general manager, NCAA executive, and college athletic director. He’s the father of current NFL star quarterback Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.
“Just last week we distributed our proposal to 30 markets across the US,” Luck said. “We are working hard to select the right homes for our inaugural 8 teams in 2020.”
“Could the city (of St. Louis) win by having an XFL team here? Absolutely,” said St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed. “It gives a lot of sports fans an opportunity to re-engage in that ‘off’ season. We do not have an NBA team here.”
Any league would need to be properly vetted in terms of economic commitment and player safety, he said.
Another league called the "Alliance of American Football" plans to start play in February 2019. St. Louis is still a possibility for that league but is not among the 7 cities already chosen to host its 8 teams.
Matthew Dewey, Vice-President and General Manager of America’s Center released a statement saying,
“We are in ongoing discussions with representatives of various football entities interested in St. Louis and The Dome at America’s Center. At this time, it is too early to speculate on the outcome of these talks. St. Louis is one of the nation’s premier sports markets with tremendous football fans from across the entire region.”
With the Alliance planning to start in just 8 months, there are concerns St. Louis won’t have dates available at The Dome. There's no need for a local owner in the Alliance or XFL. The leagues will own the teams.