MEMPHIS, Tenn. — USFL and city leaders announced Tuesday that the iconic Memphis Showboats have come home to the Bluff City.
Officials reached an agreement for the Memphis Showboats to play the USFL 2023 season at historic Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, home of the 1980s team that featured Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White. The USFL announced the inaugural game will kick off on Sunday, April 16, 2023. Fans can secure a place in history and lock in priority access to Memphis Showboats games by visiting Ticketmaster to make a ticket deposit for $25.
“We’re home,” said Daryl Johnston, USFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “The Showboats return to Memphis for the 2023 season. The USFL is appreciative of the tremendous support and commitment from the City of Memphis, Mayor Jim Strickland, and countless other community leaders for bringing professional football back to the Bluff City.”
The USFL also unveiled a new Memphis Showboats logo.
“I could not be happier to bring the Showboats back home to Memphis,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “I have so many fond memories of going to USFL games. The atmosphere was amazing, the spring weather was beautiful, there was quality football, and it was an overall great experience. I know this time will be no different, and I cannot wait to go to the first game on April 16.”
Brian Woods, USFL President of Football Operations, noted the significant role that FedEx Corporation Founder Fred Smith has had in the Showboats returning to Memphis.
“The USFL is committed to building a strong partnership with Memphis community leaders, and we can’t thank Fred Smith enough for his personal support and vision to make today’s historic announcement possible,” said Woods. “Thanks to this legendary entrepreneur who is a prominent fixture in this community, the USFL and the Memphis Showboats have come home to stay.”
By balancing agility to take advantage of opportunities, an ambitious vision, and fiscal discipline, the USFL is the first major professional spring football league in nearly 40 years to complete a successful inaugural season and return for Season 2.
During the USFL’s 10-week season in 2022, all eight teams were hosted by the City of Birmingham, Ala. In June, it was announced that the professional spring football league would expand across additional markets for the 2023 season, as the USFL incrementally locates teams into their own markets until all are eventually playing in front of their hometown fans.
“The USFL keeps our long-term commitments to fans and partners. We’re proud to make our first market expansion to Memphis, an original 1980s USFL city with a deep history as a terrific sports region,” said Johnston. “The USFL has come home to Memphis because fans here share our passion to celebrate football as much as we do. This is a game-changing homecoming with real economic impact. The City of Memphis will also host the Houston Gamblers during the 2023 season. The Gamblers and Showboats in Memphis together — sounds like we have a real rivalry brewing!”
Memphis Showboats Head Coach Todd Haley and Houston Gamblers Head Coach Kevin Sumlin will bring their teams to Memphis in March for the start of training camp. USFL Season 2 kickoff weekend on April 15-16 will start a 10-week regular season, followed by two-week playoffs.
“Completing a remarkably successful inaugural season and preparing for a second season shows the USFL is a stable and professional league run by people with football experience,” Johnston concluded. “In 2022, we accomplished every goal we set — high-quality, exciting, and competitive football, establishing a fan-friendly affordable and fun stadium experience, being a catalyst for the evolution of football through innovative rules, and achieving ratings success that gave viewers unprecedented access and the best football production on television. We showed our fans, our players and coaches, our communities, and our public and corporate partners that the USFL is here to stay.”
This means the Tampa Bay Bandits are no longer for now. They could return at a future time.
The Memphis team are a rebrand of the Tampa Bay Bandits, not an expansion team. They will inherit the Bandits roster. During the event the team announced former Memphis Tigers Brady White as their quarterback. No word on what the status is of Jordan Ta’Amu.
JERRY Lee Sanchez
November 15, 2022 at 12:11 pm
Sounds like the Showboats have a potential owner in the founder of FEDEX, Fred Smith. The USFL business model is sound. Football is the most popular sport in USA. The NFL WILL NOT expand leaving thriving markets wanting a team. The NFL is too greedy to realize these markets will succeed. TV and ads, gambling, and social media are key factors why this league and the XFL will thrive. They have money backing both leagues. Look for a merger in 5 years. The 2 leagues will pass baseball, basketball, and soccer and rank only behind the NFL.