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XFL releases its debut schedule for 2020 season

XFL releases its debut schedule for 2020 season

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jim Zorn will return to the sideline to coach the XFL's Seattle team against Washington's when the new league kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Zorn has ties to both cities. The longtime quarterback for the Seahawks and head coach for the Redskins for two seasons (2008-09) also is general manager of Seattle Dragons, who face Pep Hamilton's DC Defenders in Washington when the eight-team XFL begins play the weekend after the Super Bowl.

The XFL released the schedule for its inaugural season on Tuesday. ABC will broadcast the first game and Fox will have games on Saturday and Sunday during the opening weekend.

"It's a big moment for us," XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck said. "We've got great time slots on the weekends. We think it's a well-designed schedule in terms of competitive balance."

The league is the second XFL backed by the WWE's Vince McMahon. McMahon has invested nearly $400 million in the XFL and has started a separate company, Alpha Entertainment LLC, to operate it. The first version of the XFL -- a joint venture of WWE and NBC -- lasted just one season (2001).

This is the second consecutive year that a second pro football league will debut. The Alliance of American Football folded after just eight weeks.

The XFL is divided into two four-team divisions, East and West. The XFL East features teams in Washington, New York, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The XFL West has teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Among the notable names involved in coaching is former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, the head coach and GM of the Dallas Renegades. Kevin Gilbride, who won two Super Bowls as the offensive coordinator for the Giants, is the coach for the New York Guardians. Longtime NFL and college coach June Jones will coach the Houston Roughnecks, while former NFL and CFL coach Marc Trestman is with the Tampa Bay Vipers.

Notable players include former Oklahoma and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones by Dallas. Tommylee Lewis, best known for being the intended Saints receiver on the key pass interference play in last season's NFC title game, is also with Dallas. Cardale Jones, who won a championship with Ohio State in the 2014 season, is on DC and former Jets tight end Jace Amaro is with Seattle.

The XFL announced in May that it had reached agreements with ESPN and Fox Sports. All the games will air on national television with doubleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays. Twenty-four games will air on ABC or Fox. The remainder will air on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2.

"If you think about football in this country, I think you'd certainly have to think about ABC and ESPN and FOX with what they do, so I think these are trusted broadcasters, they've broadcast literally hundreds of thousands of NFL games, major college games," Luck said. "So their talent that they'll assign will be top-notch talent. So we think there's never been quite honestly a startup league that's had these kinds of windows, this kind of exposure."

The regular season will last 10 weeks. Each team will host five home games and play a schedule that features a home-and-home series against division rivals and one game against each team in the other division. The regular season ends on April 12. The division finals will be the following week and the winners will play for the championship on Sunday, April 26 on ESPN.

`"This a killer schedule with four national games each week," said Jeffrey Pollack, the XFL's president and chief operating officer. "Every XFL game will be on national television and presented by media companies that know football inside-out, know how to tell great stories."

12.9.19 Rick Horrow sits down with Julie Edelman, Global Client Partner of Google

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USA TODAY Sports

12.9.19 Rick Horrow sits down with Julie Edelman, Global Client Partner of Google

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with  Julie Edelman, Global Client Partner of Google.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

1. It's hard to believe, but we have reached the end of yet another decade. And in the business of sport, it’s been a busy one. Here are Rick Horrow’s top 15 sport business/law trends and issues of the decade just ending. Stay tuned throughout December for his top 15 sports technology and media picks, as well as his most influential philanthropic/corporate social responsibility actions in sports, and an early look at the year and decade ahead.

2. State by state, legal sports wagering outside of Nevada sportsbooks takes hold, with massive business implications. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Since the ruling, 19 states have legalized the practice, with Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee passing legislation this year. Additionally, 24 states have pending legislation. Legal sports wagering has already had a profound effect on virtually all American professional sports, casting a wider fan base net, spurring innovation in sports media and e-commerce, and birthing an entire cottage industry of related new companies. Sports teams are embracing fans who wager – Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Washington Wizards and Capitals, is only the latest ownership group to install a sportsbook in their venue. And tens of millions of tax dollars on net sports betting proceeds are adding income streams to state and community coffers. 

 

3. College football adds a real playoff. After years of avoiding adding yet another game to the college football season via the auspice of the Bowl Championship Series – a selection system that created five existing bowl matchups involving ten of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision’s top-ranked teams – the NCAA in the 2014-2015 season finally embraced the College Football Playoff (CFP), a bracket tournament between the top four teams in the country as determined by a selection committee, culminating in a championship game at a neutral site. While the payout for the semifinal teams is a modest $6 million, the playoff format delivers tens of millions in additional revenue to the schools, conferences, and contract and access bowl host cities – a handful of which, including New Orleans this year, get to double down on hosting duties and economic impact.

 

4. After 20 long years, Los Angeles gets an NFL team back in 2016. In fact, it gets two. Largely thanks to billionaire and St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles has now positioned itself to be the center of the sports universe for the next decade and likely longer. The two-decade span in which Los Angeles lacked an NFL team was brought on in part by the obsolescence of Los Angeles’s existing stadiums, the unwillingness of the NFL to add expansion teams after 2002 (when the Houston Texans premiered) or relocate any other teams, and an inability to agree on a plan to build a new stadium, despite several proposals that were vetted but never landed a team willing to relocate under the developers’ terms. Kroenke’s privately-funded SoFi Stadium opens next July with a Taylor Swift concert and will house both the Rams and the Chargers. Additionally, the $4.963 billion venue will host Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the CFP National Championship Game in 2023, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. L.A. is now synonymous with mega sports events.

 

5. Rob Manfred became the 10th Major League Baseball Commissioner during a period of labor peace and unrest in almost everything else. At the beginning of the decade, baseball was still healing from its steroid era, a span in the 1990s-2000s where home runs were plenty and performance-enhancing drug testing scarce. Former Commissioner Bud Selig was largely credited with cleaning up the sport, and in 2015 Manfred inherited a league that was in decent baseball shape but desperately trying to stay relevant to the next generation of fans. Slow play was an issue…but a pitch clock somehow made games even slower. PED bats were gone, but the balls appeared to be corked. And Manfred’s decade ends with a nasty sign-stealing scandal involving the World Series champion Houston Astros. One bright spot in baseball continues to be its vast minor league system, which ensures pro baseball is played throughout America’s smaller communities – MiLB saw attendance in 2019 surpassed 44 million fans annually. As baseball’s Winter Meetings convene next week in San Diego, MiLB President Pat O’Connor and industry experts present a solution to improved facilities that rests in three key areas: time, money, and space.

Teenager Coco Gauff to return to the Citi Open in 2020

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Teenager Coco Gauff to return to the Citi Open in 2020

Teenage tennis sensation Coco Gauff will return to Washington D.C.'s Citi Open in 2020. 

Gauff, who will be 16 at the time of her second appearance in D.C., broke onto the WTA Tour with a historic run at last year's Wimbledon Championships. She upset seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams en route to a Round of 16 finish in her major main draw debut. 

Last year, Gauff made the trip to the nation's capital a month after her phenomenal run. However, due to her low ranking and her primary source of ranking points coming from Wimbledon, she had to play in the qualifying tournament just to make the main draw of the Citi Open. She would end up losing in the First Round of the singles draw but win her first WTA title with fellow American teenager Caty McNally in doubles

That will not be the case for the Florida native this upcoming year. Gauff won her first WTA singles crown at the Linz Open in Austria and became the youngest player ranked in the top 100 at 15 years of age. She wrapped up her 2019 campaign ranked No. 68 in the world. 

Coco Mania in D.C. helped contribute to one of the best Citi Opens ever. The tournament set several new attendance records in 2019 and sold out seven of the 11 sessions. An empty seat could not be found in any of Gauff's qualifying or main draw matches.

“Seeing the energy and excitement that Coco brought to our Citi Open fans and community last summer was one of the highlights of the tournament, so we are thrilled to welcome her back in 2020,” the manager of the Citi Open Mark Ein said in a release.

Gauff will be defending her doubles title, in addition to playing singles, and hopes to do so with McNally again. 

The 2020 Citi Open will be Aug. 1-9, where they will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the women's draw at the event. 

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