Should the XFL look at Hartford ?

The XFL will return in 2020 and here are a few reasons why the league may look to put a franchise in Hartford, CT.

After 19 years the XFL will be returning in 2020. World Wrestling Entertainment founder Vince McMahon announced earlier this week that the football league that only last one season in 2001, would be returning without the gimmicks that the league was originally known for. Some of the initiatives the league will be to speed up the pace of play and also barring any player with a criminal record.

The full announcement was made on ESPN and can be viewed below.

The debate about whether this league will work is a good topic for another day. Instead let’s focus on an intriguing question that hasn’t been asked. Where will the eight teams play?

The original XFL had an Eastern and Western division with four teams in each division. The East featured teams in Birmingham, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, and Chicago with the West having Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, and San Francisco. With the XFL looking for potential sites there could be a new market that could be a dark horse for a franchise. That city would be Hartford.

Hartford, Connecticut? Surely you must be joking? However, the more you think about it the more it makes sense. First, McMahon has announced that he will be the owner for all eight teams. Think about that. Not only will he be the league commissioner but he will also have to keep track of every team’s day-to-day operation.

WWE Headquarters Courtesy: Stamford Advocate

I can definitely  see a franchise in the New York and New Jersey area, given it’s the largest television market in the country, but Hartford would make it easier to handle a franchise that is right in the WWE’s backyard. The company’s headquarters, and likely the XFL’s headquarters initially will be based out of Stamford, Connecticut. Having a franchise in Hartford along with one in New York would put two of the eight franchises in near to the company’s headquarters thus making day-to-day operations easier.

Hartford hasn’t had a professional sports franchise since the Hartford Whalers left in 1997.

Now many of you will be saying that the market can’t support that. People forget that the New Haven and Hartford television market are one of the top thirty television markets in the country. In an area without a professional since 1997 when the Hartford Whalers moved out, this could be a market that would get behind a professional team.

Another encouraging statistic from Hartford Business was that the newly formed minor league ball club, the Hartford Yard Goats, set a minor league attendance record in their inaugural season drawing in over 395,000 fans.

Let’s also not forget that the original XFL played in smaller markets. Nielsen ratings in 2017 had the Hartford and New Haven as the 30th television market in the country. Of the original eight teams three of the teams were in smaller markets: Las Vegas (40), Birmingham, (45), and Memphis (51).

The next question I know you’re dying to ask but where will they play? It turns out that East Hartford has the perfect facility Pratt & Whitney Stadium, the home of the University of Connecticut football team. It’s a 40,000 seat stadium that was built-in 2001 specifically for football and hosted the UFL’s Hartford Colonials from 2009-2010.


For an expansion league, the XFL would be wise to avoid large NFL Stadiums for attendance reason. The first time the XFL averaged just over 20,000 fans a game. If they were able to get 30,000 fans for these games it would look better to have a smaller football or soccer stadium that they have the chance to fill as opposed to a massive 70,000 seat stadium.

While professional football in Connecticut can be viewed as a long shot, the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. The state has the television market, provides a location close to the WWE Headquarters, is a market without a professional team, and has a football stadium that’s a perfect fit for the league’s specifications.

Even if Hartford isn’t one of the eight cities selected for a franchise initially, their qualifications and infrastructure would make the city a leading candidate if the league can grow and eventually expand.

It’s still a long way until the XFL kicks off in 2020, but if the league is looking for a new market when they start this league, one option could be McMahon putting a franchise in the same state where his wrestling conglomerate calls home.


U Conn Do it! Why UCONN needs to build a new hockey arena

If UCONN hockey wants to make it to the big time, they need a new arena

If UCONN hockey wants to make it to the big time, they need a new arena

In 2014-2015 the Connecticut Huskies will enter new territory. Starting next year, the UCONN hockey team will be joining one of the better leagues in college hockey, Hockey East. At this point many people may even be asking “wait, UCONN has a hockey team”? It’s easy to be forgotten at a school known for its powerhouse basketball programs, and its recent dominance in soccer and baseball. Not to mention a school whose effort to build a national football program has gone off the rails in the past few years. By joining Hockey East, the hockey team will now be entering the big time. It’s been a program that’s been heading in the right direction. With more scholarships and an impressive 19-14-4 2012-2013 season, the program is ready to make some noise on the Storrs campus. There’s just one problem.

Let me see scholarships? Check. New uniforms? Check. A new coach with National Championship credentials? Check. A suitable arena to house the team? Oh there’s the problem. The Huskies do not have a suitable home which could be the final piece to the hockey puzzle. The solution? Give them the home they deserve. After years of pouring millions of dollars into the other athletic programs, it’s time for UCONN to invest in their hockey program’s future. Despite being built-in 1998, the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum is not a suitable home. This arena was built for a second-rate college hockey program,  which UCONN was at the time, but now it’s a joke that a Hockey East team calls this home. While the hockey program has announced that the Hockey East games will be played at the XL Center in Hartford, this is just another problem. The massive 15,000 seat arena can barely be filled for a UCONN basketball game and will look empty even if 5,000 fans show up to a hockey game. On top of that the arena is outdated, 30 minutes from campus, and will cost the school about 25,000$ to play a game there. What’s the solution to all of this? Build this team a new arena.

The Huskies need to build a facility that will not only house this team for the future, but to use as a tool to recruit top prospects. Let’s face it, despite the direction of the program, the arena situation is a major turnoff. If I’m a recruit do I want to play in two arenas that are terrible, or go to a beautiful arena of a Hockey East rival? Sounds like an easy decision easy to me. If UCONN wants to be successful in hockey just look 40 minutes south at Quinnipiac University.

After building their 52 million dollar TD Bank North Sports Center basketball and hockey complex in 2007, the Quinnipiac Bobcats program blossomed. Coach Rand Pecknold has even said that the arena is one of the biggest recruiting tools and why they have been able to become on of college hockey’s premiere programs. Six years after opening their new arena, the Quinnipiac Bobcats were playing for a National Championship, in large part because they used their arena as a major recruitment tool. UCONN has the resources and space to build a new arena. A 3000-4500 seat arena would be an adequate sized arena for this team. Bigger then their current arena but not as colossal as the XL Center. Plus, they can add all the bells and whistles to make it a state of the art home that will make Hockey East rivals envious. With Connecticut now becoming one of the better locations in the country for college hockey, thanks to Quinnipiac and the National Champion Yale Bulldogs, the state of Connecticut is becoming a major player in college hockey. We’ve seen how quickly the Yale and Quinnipiac programs have emerged onto the national stage, with nowhere near the resources that UCONN possesses. If UCONN builds a new arena and uses that as a great recruiting tool, I predict within 5 years after the arena’s completion UCONN will be a nationally ranked program. Hockey has always been a staple in New England culture, shouldn’t one of New England’s best schools share in the tradition of great hockey?  I’m not saying that UCONN can’t be great in hockey without a new arena, but it would defiantly speed up the process. Remember what they always said in Field of Dreams? If you build it they will come! If UCONN builds it, great hockey will come. Who knows. Maybe one UCONN hockey and basketball teams will be fighting over who can win the most National Championships and who is truly Connecticut’s team.