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Tampa Bay XFL team to train in Plant City

The league also announces its first player signing.
[XFL]
[XFL]

The Tampa Bay XFL team has picked its practice facility. It will train this winter at Plant City Stadium, the former spring home of baseball’s Cincinnati Reds.

Plant City commissioners approved this week a two-year lease agreement with Alpha Entertainment, the private entity through which World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon is funding the XFL.

The XFL is planning on making renovations to parts of the 75-acre complex, which was built in 1987 and has been used for baseball and softball tournaments and soccer games since the Reds left for Sarasota in 1997. Renovations will be paid for by the XFL, a team spokesperson said. Training camp begins in December, and the 10-week regular season kicks off the weekend of Feb. 8.

“Plant City Stadium offered what we were looking for, including a facility we could update to suit our needs regarding space for practice fields, locker rooms, a weight room and meeting rooms for the team,” team president Josh Bullock said. “We are excited to utilize a prominent Plant City venue in a new and unique way as we reimagine how a traditional spring training facility can be used for football.”

MORE XFL: How the XFL will be different from the NFL

The team’s presence in Plant City will allow it to establish a broader connection with its fan base, Bullock said.

“As we take a regional approach to develop our fan base and provide memorable experiences for fans, this is one more way we can connect with youth and families not just in Tampa Bay, but throughout West Central Florida," he said.

The team will play its games in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium, which is about 30 miles from Plant City Stadium.

In other XFL news, the league has started acquiring players. It announced Thursday that it has signed its first player, quarterback Landry Jones, who played for the Oklahoma Sooners in college and for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL. The XFL will sign seven more quarterbacks ahead of its draft in October. Each team will choose its quarterback before the draft.

Contact Thomas Bassinger at tbassinger@tampabay.com. Follow @tometrics.

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