The Los Angeles Wildcats will play their home opener Sunday, hoping the combination of affordability, unique experiences and rules intended to create a faster-paced game will draw fans to Dignity Health Sports Park.
Lower-level single-game seats start at $24, with standing-only tickets available for $15. A season ticket for the Wildcats five home games starts at $100, and includes exclusive game day access and VIP experiences throughout the season.
Parking lots will open at 9 a.m. for a Fan Fest with live music, games, activities for children, food trucks and happy hour beverage pricing will be held from 9 a.m.-noon.
The Fan Fest “will sort of have two sides — one that’s a little more rowdy and party-oriented, the other more family friendly,” team President Heather Karatz said.
“I’m a mom of twins who are 4 years old and so I want to make sure there’s something for my little ones as well,” Karatz said.
Wildcats players will walk through the Fan Fest en route to the stadium, Karatz said.
“We want to make sure that our players are up close and personal with our fans,” Karatz said.
During games, “we’ll have moments on the field … incorporating fans into cheers,” Karatz said.
Families will have opportunities to get autographs from players and photographs with them after the game, Karatz said.
Stadium gates will open at 10:30 a.m. for the 12:04 p.m. XFL game against the Dallas Renegades, a matchup of 0-1 teams that were without their starting quarterbacks for their openers.
Coach Winston Moss said Thursday “the expectation” was that Josh Johnson would start at quarterback for the Wildcats after missing the 37-17 loss to the Houston Roughnecks because of a thigh injury suffered in training camp.
Charles Kanoff, the Wildcats starting quarterback for their opener, has been placed on injured reserve because of shoulder and head injuries suffered in the opener.
Landry Jones will start at quarterback for Dallas after missing its 15-9 loss to the St. Louis BattleHawks because of a knee injury suffered during the first full practice of training camp Jan. 6 when someone stumbled and rolled up on his leg during a non-contract drill.
The 30-year-old Jones was the first player to sign with the XFL following five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he started five games, and one with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was assigned to the Renegades on Oct. 15, reuniting him with his college coach Bob Stoops.
The 33-year-old Johnson started three games for the Washington Redskins in 2018. He played in three preseason games with the Detroit Lions in 2019 and remained with the team through two regular season games, but did not play in either one.
Johnson was a fifth-round choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2008 NFL draft out of the University of San Diego. He played 29 NFL games with the Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals between 2009 and 2013, starting five, completing 96 of 177 passes for 1,042 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The XFL marks Stoops’ return to coaching after retiring as Oklahoma’s coach before the 2017 season at the age of 56.
Stoops coached the Sooners for 18 seasons, guiding them to the 2000 national championship and three other appearances in national championship games, including the contest for the 2004 title, losing 55-19 to a USC team whose offensive coordinator was Norm Chow, now the Wildcats offensive coordinator.
Stoops recorded a school-record 190 victories at Oklahoma.
The Wildcats announced the firing of defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson Monday, two days after their opening-game loss.
“We recognize that there are issues we need to address for the 2020 season,” Moss said in a statement. “While these decisions are difficult, we have given this significant thought.
“We are here to put the best possible product on the field for our fans. We thank Pepper for his contributions to the Wildcats and we are looking forward to our home opener this weekend.”
Moss told reporters at the start of a conference call Thursday that he would not answer questions about Johnson or defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, a team captain who was placed on the reserve/left squad list on Monday and traded to the DC Defenders Friday in exchange for cornerback Bradley Sylve.
Sylve is among three additions to the Wildcats roster following their opening game loss along with quarterback Marcus McDade and defensive tackle Reggie Howard.