Battlehawks Prove St. Louis Deserves an NFL Franchise

Battlehawks Prove St. Louis Deserves an NFL Franchise

Nearly a decade after the Rams’ infamous departure from St. Louis, the wound inflicted on the city still hasn’t fully healed. Faced by the prospect of a devastating lawsuit from the city of St. Louis in 2022, Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL opted to settle for $790 million, closing that chapter of city-league relations permanently. It was a huge win for St. Louis, but to many it felt bittersweet.

The Rams had left on bad terms.  It had come to light that the team was covertly planning to move, and as a result, the city’s good-faith efforts to keep the team fell on deaf ears. In Kroenke’s scathing application to move the team, he “was critical of St. Louis for its decline in population, questioned the region’s economic future and called into question whether it could support [the Cardinals and Blues] as well as an NFL franchise.” With the NFL’s settlement, all of the Rams’ conduct and words were swept under the rug. Hope by some for a new NFL team as part of a deal was crushed, and Kroenke’s defamatory words were allowed to stand. It was almost like he had gotten away.

With a new NFL team out of reach, St. Louis turned its full attention to the Battlehawks. Where 2020 was a success for St. Louis with the Battlehawks leading the league in attendance, the XFL’s return in 2023 was an absolute triumph. The Battlehawks recorded the league’s top five most attended games last season, and on top of that, crushed their own attendance record with over 38,000 fans in attendance. Despite competing with a St. Louis City home game last night, St. Louis broke their record once again with a whopping 40,317 fans in attendance. This was on top of the Cardinals’ Opening Weekend series against the Marlins, all three teams bringing in over a collective 100,000 fans.

If St. Louis isn’t supposed to be able to support three professional franchises (they have four, by the way), they’re doing an awful job.

St. Louis Can Force the NFL’s Hand

The NFL, as the most profitable sports league in the entire world, will eventually eye expansion. Despite the NFL attempting to burn every bridge imaginable with the Gateway City, the Battlehawks’ success in St. Louis might just compel them to give the city another team. Spring football has served as an excellent demo for non-NFL markets and their fanbases, and out of all of them, St. Louis has completely dominated. Most other cities, such as Memphis, San Antonio, and Orlando have struggled to maintain even a third of the Battlehawks’ attendance. It’s not farfetched to say that St. Louis’ success has near-singlehandedly preserved spring football as a concept.

St. Louis also maintains the 23rd largest metro area in the country. If the city’s been blackballed by the NFL, a league already featuring 32 teams, it’ll be a tall order for them to find markets nearly as profitable. For reference, the St. Louis metro area is larger than those of Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and several other cities currently hosting an NFL team.

The UFL has given the city an amazing team and the opportunity for the former Edward Jones Dome to take new life. It’s a great arrangement, but it’s impossible to argue it’s anywhere near the NFL experience. As of 2024, no other team in the XFL, USFL, or the UFL has surpassed an attendance figure of 40,000, let alone 30,000. The play is fantastic, but at the same time, most players aren’t household names. I believe many in St. Louis would be lying if they said they wouldn’t want a new NFL franchise if it was offered, and I believe that it’s likely to become a reality within the next couple of decades.

I’m not suggesting that any officials should attempt to rush into a deal. The Rams’ arrangement with the city was an extremely team-friendly deal which left the city paying for The Dome long after the team had jumped ship. The city groveled before the league, building the stadium before a franchise was even guaranteed. The red and blue seats were installed in anticipation of the New England Patriots relocating of all teams. But now things are different. The Battlehawks are firmly entrenched in St. Louis, and the Chiefs haven’t absorbed the local market in spite of their back-to-back championships. If the NFL wants to tap into one of the biggest markets in America, they’re going to need to be the ones making concessions. It’s going to take a lot of time, but it could very well happen.

If you’d like the NFL to eventually return to St. Louis, please support the Battlehawks, because it will undoubtedly expedite the process.

If you really DON’T want an NFL franchise, and I completely understand why, please support the Battlehawks anyway. The UFL isn’t going to survive without them.

Do you think St. Louis will get another NFL franchise in the near future? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.

Fubo
  1. I would rather have a basketball team. The NFL is run by corrupt rich old men. The league lucked out that they settled before going to trial. All the lies and deception would have come out.

      1. There is no possible way after what St Louis is done that the NFL will even consider coming back here.

  2. Don’t think a public funding vote for a NFL stadium will EVER pass in StL and a new owner would want one for sure. Things are bitter between StL and the NFL now that they’ve allowed TWO teams to leave without addressing the REAL issues with their relocation policies. By settling the lawsuit, none of those issues became known anywhere else besides StL. There’s a REAL conflict the individual owners have when their vote is either “for getting money to allow a team to move” or “not getting money for making a team stay”. Kroenke knew all along if the check was big enough, he’d get the votes.
    Last comment…when comparing the attendance at a Battlehawk game versus say an NFL game, hopefully an overall cost analysis between the two is done. I’m sure a NFL game would be significantly higher, thus resulting in some fans being priced out.

  3. NO! – NONFL in STL – it is fake football – Goodell has an agenda to push markets ot owners to get support for publicly funded stadiums (see KC – where this is struggling) many games are rigged just like the WWE – HELL NO NFL – get lost

  4. Great article but NO F’N WAY! STL does not need the crooked greedy owners of the NFL. Let us just enjoy the Battlehawks, Cardinals, Blues, and City SC.

  5. Let’s not deceive ourselves, there will be NFL football in Death Valley California before St. Louis gets a franchise.

  6. With the the consistent support of the Battlehawks, the NFL sharks will find a way to come back here. It might take a new commissioner but they will come back. They are money junkies.

  7. IF the Chiefs were serious about moving, St. Louis is THE only smart choice. We already support the Chiefs and would do so in a big way.

  8. As a Connecticut resident/former Whaler season ticket holder my heart goes out to the football fans of St. Louis. It’s a shame the NFL walked away from your city twice! I enjoy the spring football league(s) and chose to be a BattleHawks fans! I wish your team & city nothing but best!!

  9. As a St. Louisian I would do anything, for the NFL to return to St. Louis, or even get a NBA team. But I don’t know if it will ever happen in my lifetime, but I love watching both leagues, and would do anything for them to come back here. Not to say the NFL did nothing wrong to St. Louis by no means.

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