ST. LOUIS – The XFL released a one-minute rebrand video Wednesday morning showcasing the league’s new identity and vision, and clips from BattleHawks games were used.
At 0:17 in the video, former BattleHawks player Marcus Lucas is seen slapping hands with a fan. The video, featuring the eight franchises, was narrated by and featured league owners Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia. Gerry Cardinale is also a league co-owner.
“The XFL is where the full potential of football is realized both on and off the field,” Johnson said in the video. He also said the XFL is “tomorrow’s league.”
Garcia said the league is “for all of us and the only way to get there is together.”
Click here to watch the full video.
The St. Louis BattleHawks were a sensation in 2020, leading the league in attendance and social media buzz before the coronavirus pandemic shut down operations and forced the league into bankruptcy.
The BattleHawks were 3-2 in 2020 before the pandemic forced league operations to shut down and eventually head to bankruptcy court where it was acquired by actor and pro wrestling star Johnson and his ex-wife and businesswoman Garcia.
“Unbelievable. Just when I thought this week could not cram more sports into it—between golf and the Blues playing four games this week and baseball starting—we get the announcement,” said Andy Shifter, owner of Hats and Stuff in Westport Plaza.
For Shifter and other sports apparel shops, that’s big news of a hopeful BattleHawks return, especially after the pandemic caused a premature end to the XFL season in St. Louis and nationwide.
Operations were suspended and employees were laid off on April 10, 2020, during an in-house conference call. The XFL and its eight franchises played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule in 2020. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and FOX.
“When COVID started, I think half of St. Louis was going to that L.A. game on a Saturday night, March 21, and I had just gotten in 28 cases of BattleHawk merchandise,” Shifter said. “Then, unfortunately, everything folded. But now it sounds like they’re back.”
Shifter said his big sellers have been mainstays like St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues merchandise.
The buzz building for the new St. Louis City SC team has seen an increase in sports fans buying gear ahead of next spring’s MLS debut in downtown St. Louis.
In December 2021, Garcia posted photos to Instagram from a meeting in New York City on the future of the XFL. The photos included a countdown to the 2023 season, and league uniforms were seen in the background of one of the photos. The uniform on the far right was a BattleHawks uniform.
The photo that showed the countdown said the XFL combine will be in June 2022, training camp will be in January 2023, and season kickoff will be on February 18, 2023. It is unclear which of the eight previous franchises will be included in the XFL relaunch.
“I think for the city of St. Louis it just adds another level to next spring,” Shifter said. “I don’t know how we’re going to handle that, between the soccer team coming back and baseball spring training starting, and the Blues in the middle of their run, and everything else going on, and then the BattleHawks. It’s going to be exciting in February 2023 for sure.”
Shifter said he’s still selling old BattleHawks flags, shirts, koozies, and more. He expects to get new merchandise with the new XFL logo in the not-too-distant future.