St. Louis BattleHawks
The St. Louis BattleHawks are a professional American football team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The team is an owned-and-operated member of the XFL founded by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and plays its home games at The Dome at America's Center.
|Team history||St. Louis BattleHawks (2020–present)|
|Based in||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Stadium||The Dome at America's Center|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Colors||Royal, grey, navy|
|Owner||Alpha Entertainment, LLC|
|Head coach||Jonathan Hayes|
|General manager||Jonathan Hayes|
St. Louis joined Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. as the league's inaugural cities. Teams have 45-man active rosters and play a 10-week season. Vince McMahon said “the game will feature simplified rules for a faster pace of game that should complete in under three hours”, and draw from former college and NFL players.
The BattleHawks are the only XFL team not to share its market with a current National Football League franchise; St. Louis had 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, the last of which relocated to Los Angeles in the 2016 season. There is a significant negative sentiment against the NFL in St. Louis, as both the Cardinals and Rams relocated to new markets, citing a division between the teams' ownership and both the city & county governments of St. Louis to adequately provide a new stadium and the unacceptable condition of the Dome at America's Center. (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 to take advantage of a newly empty football market.
St. Louis has very little history of hosting alternative professional football. None of the major alternative outdoor leagues of the late 20th and early 21st centuries had a team there, and the Arena Football League's only presence was the St. Louis Stampede of 1995 and 1996. 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 originally built for the Rams and as an addition to the adjoining St. Louis Convention Center. After the departure of the Rams, 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 will pay $800,000 in rent to use the Dome (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, bringing the stadium's capacity down to around 38,000. Along with CenturyLink Field, it is the one of two XFL venues in a downtown city center.
The league has also said that should St. Louis successfully win a franchise for a Major League Soccer team (which indeed was granted and will begin play in 2022), the XFL would be interested in having the St. Louis team play at the St. Louis MLS Stadium, given its new amenities, better lighting and capacity closer to projected attendance. Three XFL teams will share stadiums with MLS teams for the inaugural season.
The BattleHawks lead every other team in followers on Twitter and Instagram. The fan base has also used social media to harass fans of opposing teams. 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.
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- Fulk, Konnor. "XFL Momentum: Social Media, A Look At The Numbers". XFLNewsHub. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
- ""Vipers Fans Poop Standing Up" and Other XFL Facts From BattleHawks Fans".
- Caesar, Dan. "St. Louis draws XFL's best TV rating in the nation". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2020-02-11.