St. Louis XFL team first game update

ST. LOUIS — There’s big news on when St. Louis will host its first game in the revamped XFL, along with retaining the team name “Battlehawks.”

There were unexpected developments at Wednesday’s meeting of the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) board of directors, which oversees the dome at America’s Center, where the St. Louis Rams used to play and where the XFL team will play in 2023.

Rev. Earl Nance Jr., chairman of the RSA board, said he wanted the St. Louis XFL team to keep its name.

“It’s common sense. That was an exciting name, the Battlehawks,” Nance said. “They even had their own ‘sound: ka-kaw, ka-kaw’.”

St. Louis officials said they expect the Battlehawks name to stick, but they haven’t received confirmation from the XFL.

The new XFL season begins in February 2023. The St. Louis team is expected to play its first home game at the Dome in March.

Efforts are being made to hire 200 to 300 game-day employees and to prepare the turf that has been stored under the dome floor since the Battlehawks last game in 2020, just before COVID-19 shut down the league.

“It’s really just the hydraulics that bring the (turf) field in and out,” said Matthew Dewey, senior vice president and general manager at America’s Center. “Comb through once and make sure it’s more aesthetically suited to the team: repainting, removing paint, more aesthetics of things.”

The RSA board also voted to invest the $514.1 million from the NFL/Stan Kroenke settlement in a higher-yielding fund that could make an estimated $28,000 a day. While the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the RSA continue secret negotiations to share the money.

The money is currently in a low-yield account that has yielded a modest $1.5 million in interest since April, bringing the total to $513.6 million. Reinvesting the money would yield more than $10 million in interest per year.

The board also voted to meet monthly instead of quarterly for the next six months to address billing issues.

“It’s just a matter of reaching an agreement. It’s just a matter of fighting our way to an agreement now,” Nance said. “If the next six months or less, hopefully less, can get us to do that, then all the better.”

“We just don’t want (the settlement money) to go to waste,” said Dave Spence, executive vice president of RSA. “I hope everyone thinks so. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. This is a once in a lifetime fund that we hope to use to be a catalyst for our community… projects that would make sense, that 10 years from now you would look back on and say, ‘Wow, that was a great project. That really moved the needle’, or it could be seed money for things that need a little nudge across the goal line.”

Board members expect the RSA to receive less than a “third” of the money. They call for cooperation from all parties. St. Louis XFL team first game update

Sarah Y. Kim

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