Canton Will Be Home for Pittsburgh Maulers USFL Team
CANTON, Ohio – Tom Benson Stadium at the football Hall of Fame Village in Canton will be the home field for the Pittsburgh and New Jersey USFL teams in the 2023 season.
The league’s championship game will also be played at the stadium, just as it was in the inaugural season last year. The North Division playoff game will take place at Benson Stadium in late June, with the title game in early July.
Last year, all regular season United States Football League games were played in Birmingham, Ala. That city, along with Memphis, Tenn., will also be homefield sites for two teams this season. The fourth and final hub city will likely be Detroit.
The league’s games will again be broadcast on Fox.
The Canton announcement was made Wednesday morning at a press conference at Hall of Fame Village.
“The outstanding regional support we received during our first postseason from football fans in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including the great city of Pittsburgh, coupled with our successful partnership with the Hall of Fame Village, led to this moment,” said Daryl Johnston, USFL executive vice president of football operations.
The Maulers and Generals will face off in Canton’s first regular season game on Sunday, April 23.
Fans can preregister for USFL Canton game tickets via Ticketmaster to make a deposit for $25 and lock in priority access. Visit USFL.com for more information.
The USFL games will be another piece of the fan experience offered at Hall of Fame Village, which includes the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A waterpark, a hotel and other family entertainment attractions are currently under construction there.
“The USFL is a fan-first league, so we’re creating a fun and affordable entertainment destination here in Canton where football fans can cheer on … teams while experiencing a wide variety of programming and activities … before and after games,” said Michael Crawford, CEO of Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Co.
The Maulers will be led by head coach Ray Horton, who was hired by the USFL earlier this month. He sees the move to Canton for the 2023 season as an opportunity to build a regional fan base.
“Because I’ve been a defensive coach for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, I know how passionate football fans are in western Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio,” Horton said. “As the USFL works to eventually move the Maulers into Pittsburgh, playing the 2023 regular season games in Canton presents an incredible opportunity for fans throughout the region to check us out and see first-hand the high-quality professional football being played in the USFL.”
This will be the first time Horton will be a head coach for a professional team. It will also be a family affair for the 62-year-old, as his son, Jarren Horton, will continue as defensive coordinator for the Maulers.
Johnston said the USFL intends to incrementally move all eight teams into stadiums in their home markets in coming years.
Until then, expanding play in Canton will help build a regional fan base, keep the brand in the national consciousness and strengthen the league’s partnership with the Hall of Fame Village, Johston said.
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.
The USFL played a 10-week season last year, marking its revival. The league was launched in 1983 and played two seasons.
In addition to Pittsburgh and New Jersey, the other USFL teams are the Michigan Panthers, Philadelphia Stars, Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Memphis Showboats.
The Stallions and Breakers will play in Birmingham, and the Showboats and Gamblers will play in Memphis.
After the inaugural USFL season, 15 players were signed by NFL teams, including Chris Odom of the Cleveland Browns and Pro Bowler KaVontae Turpin of the Dallas Cowboys.
Pictured at top: Daryl Johnston, USFL executive vice president of football operations.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.