USFL: Where could every team call home in 2024 and beyond?


The USFL has had a successful second season, but not every team has had a stadium close to their intended home. In the first 2 seasons, the league has employed a hub system to conserve costs, but as the league gears up for further seasons, they will need to put teams in home cities. Today, I look at where that could possibly be for teams currently playing and possible future expansion teams. (While you’re at it check out my uniform concepts for the expansion teams.) We’ll also look at the problem of the hub system before we look at individual teams to provide some context for why the hub system must go.

The Problem with the USFL Hub system

If you haven’t heard, USFL teams don’t all play in home cities. The “Philadelphia” Stars played in Detroit. The “Houston” Gamblers played in Memphis. The “New Orleans” Breakers played in Birmingham. The “Pittsburgh” Maulers and “New Jersey” Generals played in Canton. While a few teams were playing in their home cities, the rest were left with minimal attendance and playing far away from the cities they were meant to be playing in.

The system does have some perks, especially financially. The league pays less for travel as multiple teams play in a location, they rent out less stadiums, and pay less for stadium crews. For a league just starting out, it could be seen as a positive and can help the league save some money for the long term.

The system has a huge problem. For a league trying to grow, the teams should be marketing to their fans in their cities, but they aren’t able to as easily as 5 whole teams play outside of the market. This leads to pitiful attendance for the teams playing outside their markets, and a turn off for casual viewers.

While there are some positives to the model, I personally find it to be a detriment to the league. What fun is a pro football game where the crowd isn’t there to get into it? Why would a casual fan just finding out about the league have any incentive to care about a team they’d have to travel ridiculous distances out of state to see in person? These problems have turned off a portion of the casual viewers that could be enjoying some USFL football.

Now that you know my stance on the hub system, let’s look at the USFL teams and where they should play!

Philadelphia Stars

The Stars appear to have a perfect stadium option in Subaru Park when they move to Philly. The stadium is a small MLS stadium the perfect size for a USFL team, with a capacity somewhere between 26,000 and 18,000 depending on configuration. The beautiful location on the Delaware river right by the Commodore-Barry Bridge is perfect for the Union of MLS, but could also be perfect for the Stars. It’s located 20 minutes down the road from the other Philly stadiums, and is a great stadium for the league. If the Stars don’t play here, I’d be surprised.

Franklin Field with a max capacity of 53,000, home of the University of Pennsylvania, is another potential spot. Formerly home of the Philadelphia Eagles (albeit a long time ago) this stadium has the size that could easily host the stars, although the stadium is old and may run into issues with Penn regarding scheduling. The only other place I could see them playing would be Lincoln Financial Field, but with that being an NFL stadium, I feel like it’s a last ditch effort that the Stars shouldn’t need to use.

New Jersey Generals

The Generals have 2 great stadium options right in front of them when they choose to go to New Jersey. SHI stadium is the home of Rutgers University, and could be an intriguing spot to place the team as they aren’t in an area with major pro teams, but aren’t far away from the pro teams.

Another option is the Red Bull Arena of MLS, which is right in the heart of a major metro area, but is small enough for the USFL. SHi Stadium appears to be just a little big for the Generals, holding 52,000, but that is usually fixed by the league using tarps. Red Bull’s 25,000 capacity might be better suited for USFL teams.

There is another scenario that see’s New Jersey and Philadelphia sharing a stadium to still save costs. Given that the two areas are so close together the travel for either fan base would be fairly minimal, and in turn this could be a way to maximize the value of one stadium, and even share practice facilities too further decreasing cost, and increasing the financial viability of putting teams in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area.

If the worst case scenario is realized, the team would be going to Metlife stadium (which is way too big), but I expect SHI or Red Bull Arena to openly accept the Generals. I would add here that the Generals feel like they could be relocated to another city, perhaps even just being rebranded as a Canton team.

Pittsburgh Maulers

The Maulers are in a weird situation when they move to Pittsburgh. Similar to what we saw in the XFL with the Vegas Vipers left to use Cashman field with a capacity of 10,000 fans, the Maulers could be forced to have a significantly smaller stadium than the rest of the league.

Highmark stadium seats a small amount of only 5,000 fans, but they wouldn’t need tarps or closing off seats to reduce capacity. It also has a great riverside location with nature on one side and the city on the other (albeit across the river.)

Acrisure stadium is NFL caliber, as it’s home to the Pittsburgh Steelers of that league. With over 68,000 seats, it’s quite oversized for the USFL. It’s either too small or too big for the Maulers, but hopefully they can figure it out and get in the city soon, as playing a few hours away in Canton isn’t cutting it.

It would be hard to swallow seeing the Maulers not play in market again, as they just changed their colors to black and gold to match the city’s other sports teams, which is supposed to bring some local connectivity, so it seems as though getting to Pittsburgh is a priority. Perhaps a Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia shared hub somewhere in Pennsylvania is another possibility for the league to help cut costs.

New Orleans Breakers

All signs point to the Breakers going to their home city of New Orleans next year, and the city has the perfect stadium ready and waiting for them. Yulman stadium, home of Tulane is a great size for the USFL, with a 30,000 capacity and it’s clear the city wants their team. Yulman stadium would put them right in the heart of the city, right where they need to be.

The only other viable stadium for the Breakers would be the Superdome, but as with every other NFL stadium, it is way too big for a USFL team right off the bat. It could be like Ford Field and try and hide empty seats with lighting and tarps. I think playing in the Superdome is more of a backup plan, as Yulman stadium is perfect for the Breakers. Dubbed the Superdome for a reason, the stadium fits 87,500 fans…that’s a lot of tarps.

Houston Gamblers

The Gamblers also find themselves in a tough situation. If they stayed in Houston, they wouldn’t be the only spring football team in town, as the XFL’s Roughnecks also play in Houston. If you are ruling out TEDCU stadium as an option for the Gamblers, this brings up the possibility of relocation for them. TEDCU could be a long shot due to scheduling restrictions with the XFL, but the school has shown a willingness to work with spring football leagues in the past, having not one, but two teams operating out of the same stadium for about a month of overlap, could provide nonstop events for the stadium, and in turn actually draw more fans to these games for both leagues given they would be playing off of each other organically for exposure.

They could go to the MLS route sharing a stadium with the Houston Dynamo FC at Shell Energy stadium. With a capacity of 23,000 fans it is nearly perfectly sized for the USFL, and it would keep the team in Houston, however it isn’t out of the question for them to leave Houston entirely.

A Texas city that could be a good home for spring ball is Austin. They have a new, state of the art MLS stadium that could be a good home for the USFL. Q2 stadium seats just over 20,000 fans the perfect size for the USFL. Also Austin is the one major Texas city that the XFL has yet to tap, even with three other teams in the state. With San Antonio, Houston, and Arlington all spoken for, perhaps Austin is the best bet for the Gamblers, although this would likely prompt a rebrand to the Austin Wranglers. More on that later.

The Gamblers aren’t the only team in town, and they haven’t been able to build up the community as easily while playing 8 hours away in Memphis. This makes me really doubt if they could succeed in Houston, and playing in Austin or another Texas city could be the way to go if they want to become a popular spring ball team in Texas.

If the worst case scenario is realized, then I could see the Gamblers relocate/go on hiatus for a while. We could see a similar scenario to the Bandits, where the Gamblers end up in Denver as the Gold, Arizona as the Outlaws, Oakland as the Invaders, L.A. as the express, or Jacksonville as the Bulls. All of these names have already been trademarked by the league.

Should the USFL expand as well?

The USFL is a fairly new league, no spring league had managed to get to 3 seasons while also being relatively mainstream. Because of that, they don’t have infinite money, and the entire reason the hub system exists is because of that. I would heavily advise against further expansion especially if the league would still be using a hub system.

It would be easier to talk about expansion if all 8 current teams did play in home markets. It would also be easier to talk about expansion if there were team owners that funded each individual team. Expansion can be expensive, and is a lower priority than putting every team in home markets.

Expansion is a fun thing to speculate, but I doubt the USFL should expand until after season 3. Daryl Johnson has even said the priority is to get all 8 teams in the home markets before expanding. Let’s keep that in mind while we look at other teams/locations for these teams.

Tampa Bay Bandits

The Bandits played in the modern USFL in 2022, but were put on “hiatus” in favor of the Memphis Showboats for season 2. This could’ve happened for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason could be the lack of a small stadium. The only real football stadium in the Tampa area is Raymond James stadium, which is an NFL stadium.

Perhaps they are waiting for the USF football stadium to be built, which could be a lot better location for the Bandits than Raymond James Stadium. Slated to be completed in 2026, putting the team on hiatus buys them time for the stadium to be completed.

Arizona Wranglers

This is where things get interesting. The Wranglers trademarks owned by the league include an option for “Austin Wranglers” which could be a sign of relocations. Arizona has a few cities with stadiums they could play in, such as Sun Devil Stadium or University of Arizona stadium. Both could be possibilities for the USFL, although they are of far less quality than State Farm stadium, and they don’t have air conditioning to protect fans in the hot Arizona suns.

I’m intrigued by the idea of the Austin Wranglers. If another team doesn’t relocate or expansion to Austin doesn’t happen, I’d support adding the Wranglers to Austin. While they wouldn’t be able to gain as much nostalgia, it could be an intriguing place to put the Wranglers.

Denver Gold

When the USFL chooses to go west, I believe that bringing back the Denver Gold would be a big thing for the league, as it isn’t super far away from other teams but is far enough west to break open expansion that way. Denver has the MLS stadium Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the Rapids FC which is the perfect size for a USFL team, as well as a good stadium overall. With a capacity between 18,000 and 27,000 depending on configuration, it is perfect for a USFL team.

Also within 2 hours of Denver there is Falcon Stadium is in the state, and is a smaller size than a typical NFL stadium, but it’s a little further south than the city of Denver which may be a turnoff. They also have Folsom Field, where the Colorado Buffaloes play, or where the CSU Rams play at Canvas Stadium. With capacities of 46,000, 52,000, and 40,000 respectively all three stadiums could present more realistic size for the USFL, however travel could deter fans from Denver making the drive.

I believe that the Gold could succeed in Denver if they were brought back with the 2 good stadium options, and if push comes to shove, the Broncos stadium is a possibility. (But it’s also a large, cavernous facility that would feel empty during a USFL game.)

Jacksonville Bulls

Now if I had to tell you what original teams I don’t think will return to the USFL anytime soon, I would say the Jacksonville Bulls and Orlando Renegades. For the Bulls, I think this is because of a lack of stadium options. TIAA Bank Field is not only an NFL facility, but it’s also about to have a massive renovation that will prevent the Jaguars from playing there, and push the venue beyond USFL levels. Without any other major venue, I’d assume the league holds off on expanding to Jacksonville.

Hodges stadium is available as well, with a capacity of 12,000 fans but this would put the Bulls in a similar situation to the Vegas Vipers as mentioned above. Realistically, in a perfect world the USFL finds stadiums all in or around the 20,000 capacity mark and focus on selling out these venues before finding larger ones. Having a wait list for ticket sales would be a welcomed situation compared to what they are currently seeing.

You could relocate the Bulls to a different location if the teams ends up becoming a must-have, but I don’t really see that happening. By the time the TIAA Bank Field renovations are done, we could see the league grown to the point where the stadium would want them to play. It feels like the Bulls have options to return, but they aren’t a team that has much desire to come back.

Chicago Blitz

The Blitz are a team I want to see back in the modern USFL, but it’s easy to see them not being in Chicago. The stadium situation in Chicago is limited with Solider field’s murky future, and Ryan Field not only being replaced soon, but being an overall bad stadium. Illinois Memorial Stadium, home of the BIG 10’s Fighting Illini, which could be a solid spot to put a team based on it’s size and location. However it isn’t out of the question to relocate the Blitz entirely. Their names and even logos never really identified them as a “Chicago” team, and there’s another city that I think would welcome the Blitz with open arms.

Canton Ohio, home of the USFL championship and a current hub for the league feels like the perfect spot to put a permanent team, and with the Blitz not really having a location, I feel like they could fit right in Canton. The city loves having a pro football team playing there, and they are even offering season ticket deposits for year 3 (despite no announcement of what teams may be playing there.) If Canton were to have a permanent team, I’d suggest the Blitz.

Los Angeles Express

The Express are a team I feel would be great for west coast expansion, and they have some options for stadiums in LA or out. With 2 MLS stadiums, there’s already a few good places to put the Express if you kept them in their original city. However, fan support for spring football teams in LA has always been mediocre, which would make me wonder if the league would relocate the team. With all the marketable nostalgia the Express have on the West Coast, I don’t see them leaving the state of California.

A city like San Diego, where we saw the Fleet of the AAF, or even Sacramento, where the Mountain Lions of the UFL once played, could be better bets to support a team than Los Angeles. Each city may have less stadiums, but they could have better support. Sacramento has 2 small college stadiums, but I, and many others, would rather see the team play in Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, and not just for the cool name. It’s a small stadium perfect for the USFL, and it’s in a market starved for pro football since their NFL team left.

Oakland Invaders

Now more than ever seems like a good time to put a professional team in the bay area, with the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas and the 49ers playing a ways out from their home city in Santa Clara,(Although that’s still in the Bay Area, which gives them a bit more credit) so if the USFL is looking to expand, I could see the Invaders returning to the Bay Area.

The team returning to Oakland doesn’t seem very likely, as the Coliseum is not only in horrible shape, but playing in the spring involves scheduling around the A’s, at least for a few more years. When they leave, I doubt the Coliseum stays up or gets any kind of renovation for the Invaders, and even if they played there, it would be too big.

However, they shouldn’t limit themselves to Oakland. The Bay Area has multiple college stadiums and an MLS stadium that could be potential landing spots for the Invaders, although this would mean including the entire Bay Area as your home. I wouldn’t be opposed to it, as Oakland gets a pro football team back and San Jose get a brand new football team to cheer for and San Francisco would get another team to enjoy, and other than the team being on the west coast, it could be a win-win situation. Another bonus, is the fact that their are multiple IFL teams located nearby which could create a near practice squad style scenario for a California based USFL team.

Washington Federals

Do I think the USFL should go to the nation’s capital anytime soon? Not with the XFL’s defenders playing in town, but I’m not here to say if they should or shouldn’t bring back the Federals (they shouldn’t unless the DC Defenders stop existing) I’m here to say where they should play if they were to be brought back, and that’s a pretty easy answer. If the Washington Federals return, they should play in Audi Field.

Audi Field is a great spring league sized stadium that has worked for the XFL, and in this scenario, would work for the USFL. MLS stadiums are a great size to allow spring league fans to be right on top of the action, and Audi Field in particular has proven its worth for football with both iterations of the DC Defenders. If they, for whatever reason, folded, I could see the USFL swooping in and giving DC the Federals back, although this shouldn’t be a top priority on the expansion list right now. While providing unique scheduling restrictions with the XFL playing there as well, this is unlikely but not impossible long term.

Orlando Renegades

If the Federals have little chance of returning, then the Orlando Renegades have absolutely no chance of coming back. Orlando is currently XFL territory, but they at least have a few good stadium options if they were to put a team there. Exploria stadium, Camping World stadium, and the UCF stadium all could be viable places to put a team in a market that’s no stranger to spring football.

However, you couldn’t possibly bring back the Orlando Renegades as long as the XFL exists. Not only does Orlando have an XFL team already, but they have another team also named the Renegades. Fan support has also been mediocre for all of their spring league teams. I doubt they will return so much, I excluded them in my USFL uniforms for all the classic teams, which just goes to show how forgotten the USFL Renegades are.

Oklahoma Outlaws

This team would be interesting to bring back if the league wanted to. With a name as vague as just “Oklahoma” you could put them anywhere. The Oklahoma City area or Tulsa Area could provide a good area to play with college stadiums and dedicated football fans everywhere.

The main issue I see is the lack of smaller stadiums. While high school stadiums exist that are of great quality, there’s nothing truly above that level that isn’t extremely large for the USFL. University of Oklahoma plays in a stadium that holds 80,000 fans showing the love that Oklahomans have for football, but the USFL knows this stadium would be much beyond what they need capacity wise.

Tulsa has intriguing stadium options (which is also where the team played in the 80’s) with the University of Tulsa’s venue being a true possibility. With a capacity of 30,000, and a very nostalgic feel, this could be the perfect home for a future USFL team.

I hope you enjoyed going through this USFL journey with me, and I hope that the league lasts long enough that all of these teams get to live in their home markets in the future. I also hope you stay tuned here for all your USFL news and speculation we do here at the Shady Sports Network!

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6 thoughts on “USFL: Where could every team call home in 2024 and beyond?

  1. “There is another scenario that see’s New Jersey and Philadelphia sharing a stadium to still save costs. Given that the two cities are so close together”

    Um… New Jersey is a state and not a city. Despite the original Generals playing in the “NYC Metro”, that doesn’t mean that “NJ” has to mean “playing across the river from NYC”. “New Jersey” could literally play in suburban Philly on the Jersey side, and it would be very appropriate for both teams to be playing in that same stadium.

    1. Calling New jersey a city was totally a typo, I’ll admit it. It’s now been fixed, thanks for bringing it to my attention

      1. That’s not as bad as the Giants and Jets calling themselves NY when they are both in New Jersey!

  2. You are also totally ignoring that what they trademarked with the “Austin Wranglers” was likely the old AFL team name.

  3. Another option for NJ and Philly would be Princeton University’s Palmer Stadium . It’s in NJ close to Philly .

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