To the surprise of absolutely no one, the St. Louis Battlehawks will be making their triumphant return in 2024; this time, under the banner of the XFL-USFL merger: the newly-formed United Football League (UFL).
Recording the five highest attended games out of any spring football team in 2023, it’s no secret that St. Louis was the XFL’s premier market—a fact that co-owner Dany Garcia didn’t shy away from in the UFL’s announcement this Monday:
The job is far from over, however. St. Louis is a football city, and as of right now, the UFL Is just barely tapping into its potential as a market. As long as there are more seats to be filled, there’s certainly room for growth, and the team has an excellent opportunity to make this season bigger and better than ever before. Here are three suggestions the Battlehawks should consider:
Getting a Mascot
Who doesn’t love a mascot? A mascot’s wacky antics are almost universally appreciated in-person and on television alike, and can do much to enhance the gameday experience. Mascots often become a big part of a team’s identity (think the Phillie Phanatic or Orbit) and a simple opportunity like this shouldn’t be missed.
According to Kurt Hunzeker, former president of the Battlehawks, before the 2020 season was drastically cut short, a mascot was indeed on the horizon—Archie B. Hawk. A simple nod to the Gateway Arch and the team’s name, Archie should be allowed to make his belated debut at the Battlehawks’ home opener.
The former XFL franchises should get a push from their fellow USFL counterparts, who all had mascots during their 2023 season. Instead of retiring the former USFL mascots, or having a strange inconsistency throughout the league, the former XFL franchises should all adopt mascots of their own. It’s a simple gesture that will go a long way in improving the gameday experience while making the league feel a lot more fleshed out.
Changing the Logo
This will certainly be controversial, but I hope you’ll hear me out. The name “Battlehawks” was chosen as an homage to St. Louis’ history in aviation while naturally adopting the image of the hawk to represent the brand.
Winged warriors. Preparing for flight. Preparing to fight.
Their mission: create chaos. Their mandate: win at all costs.
For me, the sword with wings logo does nothing to pay tribute to the city’s aviation history, and it just scratches the surface of what qualifies as a bird logo. I personally believe that the only reason it was chosen was so it could be recognized as the design on the team’s helmets.
Now that the uniforms have been completely overhauled, I believe the sword with wings has run its course as the Battlehawks’ primary logo.
St. Louis, with its signature rallying call of “Ka-kaw!” and innumerable fans sporting bird themed costumes on gameday have all but completely embraced the “hawk” side of their branding (ignoring that “Ka-kaw” sounds nothing like an actual hawk). To reflect the preferences of the fanbase, I believe the Battlehawks should adopt their secondary “Armored Battlehawk” logo as their new primary.
Introducing the St. Louis Battlehawks secondary logos ⚔️
It’s unique, it’s cool, and would undoubtably become iconic. Most importantly, it’s actually a bird.
Another small but simple change could go a long way in improving the logo. When rebranding each franchise in anticipation of the 2023 season, the XFL tweaked not only the sword with wings, but also changed the font for the team’s name to emulate a military stencil. In doing so, they unfortunately removed a clever little detail.
As nearly every St. Louis resident will know, the area code for the city is “314,” appropriately the first three digits of the number “pi,” which has become known to represent the city in certain circles. In the 2020 logo, the symbol for pi has been subtly inserted though combining the two Ts, making the logo and by extension the team uniquely “St. Louis.”
In the logo’s current iteration, this feature has sadly been removed (Maybe the “557” people were feeling a little jealous.) Luckily, it can be remedied with a simple trick.
Simple as that.
Getting Better Merchandise
Merch! Every sports fan loves to represent their team, and some good designs go a long way. Unfortunately, if you were a Battlehawks fan in 2023, you were pretty much out of luck. Nearly every design in the XFL Shop, whether it was a t-shirt, cap, or sweatshirt, featured nothing more than the primary logo or the team’s name. The few exceptions did little past that. The 2020 XFL catalogue on the other hand, featured a variety of fun and unique designs, which helped instill confidence that each item was worth the asking price. Last year as a fan, I was more than content with sticking with what I already had.
The jerseys were last year’s biggest offender. It’s extremely rare to see a fan of any franchise wear a generic jersey from their team—people buy jerseys to represent their favorite players. Customizable jerseys unfortunately weren’t available last season, which is more than understandable given how strapped for cash these fledgling leagues undoubtably are; but what is inexcusable is the premium price tag attached to them.
To buy a Battlehawks replica jersey, which is only available with the numbers 54 and 23 and a Dwayne Johnson nameplate or none at all respectively, is $189.99, an entire $60 more than a replica NFL jersey, your desired player name and number included. The fact that they’re not customizable makes the price point completely unacceptable. It was undoubtably strenuous to get replica jerseys available to the public on such short notice, but it would have been better to have not released them at all than to have tried to sell them in such an unappealing state. It begs to be asked on how many fans were turned off from making what probably seemed to them prior to be a surefire purchase.
With a completely new league name and logo, all the former XFL and USFL teams will inevitably need to dump their old merchandise, and the UFL will have the perfect opportunity to make things right this spring. More designs would be extremely appreciated, and if you’re going to sell replica jerseys for nearly $200, please at least let them be customizable.
What changes would you like like to see in the UFL? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.