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  • Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    XFL to play in Memphis

     MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis once was spurned by the NFL. On Wednesday, it was welcomed into the XFL.

     The new pro football league owned by the World Wrestling Federation and NBC announced a franchise for Memphis that will play five games next year in the 62,000-seat Liberty Bowl.

     Chicago was selected as the home of one of the XFL's eight franchises earlier this month. Other XFL teams are expected to be announced in the coming weeks for New York; Washington; Miami; Orlando, Fla.; Los Angeles; and San Francisco.

     Memphis has long sought an NFL team and was turned away, although the Tennessee Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans, played the 1997 season at the Liberty Bowl while waiting for a stadium to be finished in Nashville. That year, the team averaged an NFL low of 28,000 fans per game.

     The city formerly had teams in the United States Football League, the Canadian Football League and the World Football League.

     "Big time pro football belongs in Memphis and at the Liberty Bowl," said Memphis Mayor W.W. Herenton.

     The Memphis team began taking names and addresses of prospective ticket buyers over the Internet on Wednesday. The team's name, coach and front office personnel will be announced within 60 days.

     The league is to open play Feb. 1 for a 10-week season. The games will be played on Saturday nights and televised on NBC, UPN and a cable outlet to be determined. The league's championship game is set for April 21.



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