Norfolk and Dallas Approved for Relocation

Norfolk and Dallas Approved for Relocation

The GSL is officially announcing the approval of two relocation applications today. Last week, word broke that one GSL team had been approved for relocation, but it was not disclosed which team that was. Today, a second team was approved for relocation.

Rumors have been circulating about two teams which could potentially be in a new city in 2022; the Norfolk Commanders, and the Dallas Diesel. Both teams had made it clear that their current city wasn’t working out, whether it be attendance issues in Norfolk, or stadium conflicts in Dallas. It should come as no surprise that Norfolk and Dallas are the two teams who have been approved to relocate for the 2022 season. The league had approved the Commanders relocation last week, but decided not to make the relocation public before the Gridiron Bowl, which the Commanders played in yesterday evening.

The Norfolk Commanders, despite a very successful year, ending in a Gridiron Bowl defeat, will be relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina and will be renamed the Carolina Reapers. Team colors will include red and black, with a shade of light blue as an accent color. Team designs are expected to be approved by the league once the GSL offseason begins on August 8th, as that is the earliest team designs for the 2022 season can be approved. The Reapers have not yet informed the league which stadium they will be moving to.

The Dallas Diesel, unhappy with their stadium situation at AT&T stadium, which included some early season moves to the Cotton Bowl on late notice had soured the relationship between the team and the city, so ownership has decided to move the team. The Diesel will be relocating to Portland, Oregon, and will be renamed the Portland Samurais. Team colors will include blue and yellow, with other accent colors. Team designs are still in progress. The Portland Samurais will play their home games in Providence Park, which is primarily occupied by the Portland Timbers of the MLS.

With relocation comes the aftermath for the cities left. Charlotte was the Commanders’ biggest market, and numbers indicate more Commander fans lived in the Charlotte area than in and around Norfolk. Moving to Charlotte was an easy choice, as they move to a more welcoming city to GSL football, and the team has a built in fanbase. The new name should also appeal to markets throughout the Carolinas. The GSL will not be allowing a new franchise to move into Norfolk in the foreseeable future.

The story for Dallas is quite different. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of the largest markets in the country, with a solid and passionate football fan base. The GSL is requiring that an expansion team move into Dallas for the 2022 season. In order to keep a team in the north Texas market. It’s likely that the league and the new franchise will look for stadiums other than AT&T, given the issues with the Diesel in 2021.

For the two teams that have relocated, league guidelines on relocations state that the teams must keep their new city and name through the next three seasons, meaning the earliest they may move again or change names wouldn’t be until the 2025 season. Team designs, however, can be updated yearly. The team history of the Norfolk Commanders will remain with the Carolina Reapers in their new home in Charlotte, and the history of the Dallas Diesel will remain with the Portland Samurais with their move as well.

Austin Snelick
August 2, 2021