(Editor’s note: Vince McMahon, the WWE founder and chairman, announced on Thursday he is re-forming the XFL, a professional football league. McMahon previously launched the league in the early 2000s, but it folded after just one season. The new XFL will look to begin play in 2020 with eight teams playing a 10-week schedule. MTN Sports’ Andy Curtis thinks Montana would be the perfect location for one of those eight franchises and penned a letter to Mr. McMahon pleading his case.)
Dear Vince McMahon,
I would like to take this time to formally ask you to consider the great state of Montana as the next home for an XFL franchise.
We Treasure Staters are a lost people when it comes to professional sports, with no homegrown team to rally around. As a result, we’re forced to look beyond our boarders to fullfill our fandom: A fact that results in many having to seek shelter with teams like the Denver Broncos, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders or Seattle Seahawks. This is no way to live. People need a local team to call their own, especially with today’s political climate of left versus right getting wider and deeper by the day. A single statewide sports team to unite Montanans is more important now than ever.
Being the shrewd businessman you are I am sure you’re aware that Montana is home to about 1.06 million people. You might see this as a negative when it comes to market size, but I argue that it is actually a misunderstood positive.
See, with no established professional sports team already here in the state, there is little competition for fans’ eyeballs and dollars. So, in actuallity we are home to 1.06 million potential viewers and T-shirt and ticket buyers. Those numbers don’t include those of us who live in the backcountry and find it intrusive and downright offensive to report to the U.S. Census. I know I’m not talking to anyone sneaking around my place with a clipboard! The actual potential fan population of residents could be well beyond the reported number.
If that doesn’t sway you, how about this example of in-state fan loyalty? The University of Montana has brought in more fans for football games than any other FCS program over the past three years, averaging 25,377 people in the seats at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. If that’s not impressive enough, the Grizzlies outdrew 46 FBS programs in attendance in 2016. I would say that sounds like pretty furtile football ground and a stadium that could be used.
That 1 million-plus population also does not take into consideration the roughly 12 million tourists who anually flock to the state every year to visit our National Parks and prestine wilderness. Each one of them could add seeing an XFL game to their list of vacation plans — right between taking a selfie with a bison in Yellowstone and attempting to fly fish the Missouri River. At the very leaset, games could give us locals a place to go when the previously mentioned tourists are getting gored by the previously mentioned bison at Yellowstone.
Finally, the most important reason Montana would be the perfect home for a new XFL team is the potential cool team names that would come along with planting a franchise here in the Treasure State.
The possibilities are endless!
Drawing from our frontier past the new team could be called the Vigilantes, Miners, Trappers or even the Hangin’ Judges. Or maybe one of the species of wildlife that call Montana home could draw insperation? Wolves, Grizzlies, Bison and Bull Elk would all be look right at home on a football helmet. Or maybe combine two ideas into a new totally awsome logo. What about a wild-eyed outlaw, guns a-blazing, riding on the back of a charging bison!? Wait, no, I got it! A T-rex! Yup, the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex to celebrate the important fossil discoveries across the state. Oh, wait! Maybe a grizzled miner riding a T-Rex! Now THAT would be awesome!
So, Mr. McMahon, I think you’ll find it hard to argue that Montana is the perfect place to house one of the resurrected XFL teams in 2020. If it doesn’t work out, you could always say you lost the team to a roving gang of grizzly bears and wolves and collect the insurance.
What do you have to lose?