St. Louis BattleHawks
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 as an owned-and-operated member of the XFL league. Based at The Dome at America's Center, the BattleHawks played in the league's inaugural 10-week season in 2020, against teams from Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. In August 2020, the team and its bankrupt league were sold to new owners, who have announced plans for a 2022 season.
|Based in||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Home stadium||The Dome at America's Center|
|Owner(s)||Alpha Acquico, LLC|
|Colors||Royal, grey, navy|
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, 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. St. Louis has also been devoid of NCAA Division I Football 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. 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. 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. 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.
The league has also said that it would be interested in having the BattleHawks play at the St. Louis MLS Stadium when it opens in 2023, given its new amenities, better lighting and capacity closer to projected attendance. Three XFL teams share stadiums with MLS teams.
The BattleHawks led the league in followers on Twitter, Instagram, and in fan attendance. 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. Fans often chanted “Kroenke Sucks” to express distaste for the owner of the Los Angeles Rams.
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- 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.
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